Gulf of Aden Security Review - January 10, 2011

Yemen: Suspected AQAP militants kill four soldiers in second attack on military convoy; attack on checkpoint in Abyan governorate kills at least two Yemeni policemen; Yemeni police disable bomb targeting Abyan’s head of Criminal Investigations; gunmen attack vehicle in Zinjibar; Saudi Arabia releases list of 47 wanted al Qaeda militants; Southern Movement leaders proclaim January 13 a day for tolerance; official source denies presence of foreign troops in southern governorates

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab deputy leader calls for increased attacks on TFG and AMISOM; al Shabaab seeks donations for drought victims in Mogadishu; al Shabaab bans unrelated men and women from fraternizing; three al Shabaab officials arrested in Galgudud for theft; grenade attack in Mogadishu kills one; clashes in Mogadishu injure five civilians; TFG police spokesman reassures public; UN Secretary-General says Horn of Africa could be new “launch pad” for terrorism; ONLF recommits to fight against Ethiopian government

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants executed a second attack on a military convoy Friday after having conducted a similar attack that morning.  The Yemeni army’s brigade commander in Lawder in Abyan governorate was in one of the vehicles in the convoy.  Four soldiers were killed and an additional two others were injured.[1]
  • Five Southern Movement militants attacked a checkpoint along the highway in al Malah district in Lahij governorate Saturday.  Yemeni soldiers returned fire.   A security source reports that two soldiers were killed and another was injured in the attack.  Arab news reports that at least three soldiers were killed and six were injured.[2]
  • Yemeni police disabled a bomb placed near the vehicle of the head of Criminal Investigations in Abyan governorate, Col. Nasser Mahdi Abdullah.[3]
  • Gunmen attacked an electricity department vehicle transporting money to the Central Bank branch in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate.  Local sources report the militants used their motorcycles to stop the vehicle, and then opened fire, killing four company employees.[4]
  • Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement, “Authorities have identified 47 wanted Saudis who are abroad and who adopt the deviant ideology.”  The Interior Ministry encouraged the named al Qaeda suspects to turn themselves in at a Saudi embassy and has released the names to international police, including Interpol.  The suspects are believed to have ties to the 19 cells that Saudi security forces had broken up.  According to the Interior Ministry, 16 of the suspects are believed to be in Yemen, 27 are in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and four are in Iraq.[5]
  • Southern Movement leaders met over the course of two days in Labus of Yafie district in Lahij governorate.  There, the leaders announced that the Southern Movement recognizes January 13 as a day for “reconciliation and tolerance.”  In 1986, former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen presidents Ali Nasir Muhammad and Abdul Fattah Ismail fought each other in Aden.[6]
  • Yemen’s official news agency, SABA Net, reported that a security source denied reports of foreign troops in Yemen and claimed that “Fighting against terror in Yemen is a Yemeni pure task carried out by Yemeni forces courageously.”[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab deputy leader Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, also known as Abu Mansur, called for his followers to increase the attacks on the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces in a speech in Baidoa from the Bay region.  He said, “It is an obligation on us to be united for the Jihad ‘Islamic war’ we request from all population of this town, Baidoa to help us for the fighting. Support us for the war against AMISOM and TFG in Mogadishu.”[8]
  • Al Shabaab’s governor of Mogadishu, Sheikh Ali Mohammed Hussein, asked for donations to assist those affected by the drought.[9]
  • Al Shabaab banned men and women who are not related from shaking hands, conversing, or walking together.  Residents of Jowhar report that the group has threatened to punish those in violation of the ban.[10]
  • Al Shabaab’s commissioner for the Eldher district in the central Galgudud region and two other al Shabaab officials have been arrested for stealing $9,677.42 in aid money.  The three men were arrested in the village of Masagawaa.[11]
  • A man threw a hand grenade at TFG soldiers traveling through a market in Wadajir district in Mogadishu.  At least one person was killed and three other civilians injured in the attack.[12]
  • Clashes between al Shabaab militants and TFG and AMISOM troops occurred Saturday in Hodan district in Mogadishu.  Five civilians were reported wounded.[13]
  • The spokesman for the TFG police force Abdullahi Hassan Barise said, “Our police forces are committed to clear Al shabaab with its foreigners from whole of Somalia.”  He added that there were adequate and capable policemen to secure Mogadishu.[14]
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for international support for the TFG.  He wrote in his report on the situation in Somalia that “security remains the single most critical challenge confronting the transitional federal institutions.”  He added that “The presence of foreign extremist fighters in Somalia is a constant reminder of the high risk that the Horn of Africa is rapidly becoming the next front in global efforts against international terrorism.”[15]
  • Ethiopian Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) declared Sunday that it would continue to fight against the Ethiopian government.  The information head of the ONLF, Hussein Mohammed Nur, claimed that the rebel group had killed 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers over the course of the past year.  The ONLF seeks independence for the ethnically-Somali Ogaden region of Ethiopia from the government.[16]


[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Al-Qaida Gunmen kill 17 Soldiers in Yemen,” Washington Post, January 7, 2011. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010704057.html
[2] “Separatists Attack Security Checkpoint Killing Two Soldiers,” Yemen Online, January 8, 2011. Available: http://yemenonline.info/news-1821.html
Saeed al Batati, “al-Qaeda Steps up Attacks in Southern Yemen,” Arab News, January 8, 2011. Available: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article231374.ece
[3]“Abyan Official Survives Fresh Suspected al-Qaeda Ambush,” Saba News, January 8, 2011. Available http://www.sabanews.net/en/news232643.htm
[4] Mohammed al Qadhi, “Four Killed in Yemen Vehicle Ambush,” The National, January 10, 2011. Available: http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/four-killed-in-yemen-vehicle-ambush
[5] Ulf Laessing, “Saudi Issues Warrants for 47 al-Qaeda Militants,” Reuters, January 9, 2011. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE7082A420110109?sp=true
“Saudi lists 47 Wanted Qaeda Suspects Abroad,” AFP, January 9, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5is1HFXB-sN06CZJy-u505lTmjckQ?docId=CNG.00f9d9be8db2cb7cbb98d794d2e6a6d9.691
[6] “Southern Movement Announces Day for Tolerance,” Yemen Post, January 8, 2011. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=2966&MainCat=3
“Background Note: Yemen,” State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, November 19, 2010.  Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35836.htm
[7] “Security Source Denies Deploying Foreign Troops in Yemen,” Saba News, January 10, 2011. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news232868.htm
[8] Hassan Osman, “Abu Mansour: ‘The Clashes in Mogadishu Should be Redoubled,’” All Voices, January 9, 2011.  Available: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7838620-abu-mansour-the-clashes-in-mogadishu-should-be-redoubled
“Al Shabaab Calls for More Attacks,” Shabelle Media Network, January 9, 2011.  Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=1818
[9] “Al-Shabab Administration in Mogadishu Calls for Somalis to Help Draught Affected Peopled,” Mareeg Online, January 10, 2011.  Available: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=18452&tirsan=3
“Al Shabaab Calls for Delivering Humanitarian Aid to IDPs in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, January 10, 2011.  Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=1828
[10] “Somali Islamists Ban Men, Women From Shaking Hands,” AP, January 8, 2011.  Available: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40977461/ns/world_news-africa/
[11] Hassan Osman, “Al-Shabab Officers Jailed in Galgudud Region,” All Voices, January 7, 2011.  Available: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7823169-alshabab-officers-jailed-in-galgudud-region
“Al Shabaab Officials Arrested on Theft Charges in Central Somalia,” All Headline News, January 7, 2011.  Available: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/briefs/articles/90030031?Al%20Shabaab%20officials%20arrested%20on%20theft%20charges%20in%20central%20Somalia
[12] “One Die as Somali Forces Attacked with Hand Grenade,” Shabelle Media Network, January 10, 2011.  Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=1841
[13] “Fresh Fighting Takes Place in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 8, 2011.  Available: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?Fresh-fighting-takes-place-in-Mogadishu-&sid=18436&tirsan=3
[14] “Somali Police Say Security Will Be Assured,” Shabelle Media Network, January 10, 2011.  Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=1833
[15] “Horn of Africa Could Become New Launch Pad for Global Terrorism, Ban Warns,” UN News Centre, January 7, 2011.  Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37228&Cr=somali&Cr1=
[16] “Ethiopia’s ONLF Vows its Fight Against Ethiopia will Continue,” Shabelle Media Network, January 9, 2011.  Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=1803