Gulf of Aden Security Review - January 22, 2014

Yemen:  Advisor to Lahij governorate’s top official killed; al Houthis withdraw from national dialogue talks; fighting continues between al Houthis and Hashid tribesmen in Amran; Yemeni Interior Ministry investigates pipeline bombing; two tribesmen die in clashes with security forces in Ma’rib; Yemeni court sentences AQAP militant to five years in prison; AQAP demands $3 million ransom for South African hostage

Horn of Africa:  Ethiopian troops officially form new AMISOM contingent; al Shabaab interrupts mobile internet services in several regions

Yemen Security Brief

  • An improvised explosive device (IED) killed an advisor to the governor of Lahij governorate as he drove his vehicle in Lahij city on January 21. It remains unclear who conducted the attack.[1]
  • The al Houthi Movement announced on January 21 its withdrawal from the National Dialogue talks after its leading representative for the negotiations, Ahmad Sharaf al Din, was assassinated earlier the same day. However, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that al Houthi delegates confirmed in a letter that they still approved the outcome of the National Dialogue.[2]
  • Clashes between al Houthi fighters and Hashid tribesmen killed 20 people in the towns of Wadi Khaiwan and Usaimat in Amran governorate on January 21. The number of casualties for each respective side remains unknown.[3]
  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry announced an investigation on January 21 into a suspect connected to oil pipeline attack in Shabwah governorate that occurred on January 20.[4]
  • Tribal gunmen and Yemeni security forces fought in downtown Ma’rib after the gunmen refused to hand over their weapons on January 22. Two tribesmen were killed.[5]
  • A court in Yemen sentenced a militant from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to five years in prison for manufacturing and planting four bombs in the capital, Sana’a.[6]
  • AQAP militants threatened on January 18 to kill a South African hostage if they do not receive $3 million within three weeks.[7]
  • AQAP released an audio lecture on January 20 in which religious leader Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari encourages militants to act piously and reject any strife amongst them.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian National Defense Forces were formally integrated into AMISOM in a ceremony held in Baidoa in Somalia’s Bay region. The 4395 troops deployed by the Ethiopian government contribute to AMISOM’s recent surge, which was approved by the UN Security Council on November 12, 2013. As AMISOM’s sixth contingent, the Ethiopian forces are to assist the Somali National Army with security operations in the Bakool, Bay, and Gedo regions.[9]
  • Al Shabaab disabled mobile internet service in several regions on January 21, 2014. The internet disruption is consistent with their January 8 statement, which gave Somalia telecommunication companies fifteen days to discontinue service. Several regions in southern and central Somalia were affected by the internet outage, including parts of Bay, Galgudud, Gedo, Hiraan, and Lower Shabelle regions.[10]

[1] “Advisor to the Lahij governor dies from injuries sustained in IED explosion against his car,” al Masdar Online, January 21, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/53908
[2] “Yemen’s Houthis quit national reconciliation talks,” Press TV, January 21, 2014. Available: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/01/21/346934/houthis-quit-yemen-reconciliation-talks/
[3] “North Yemen Clashes Kill 20 People,” AFP, January 22, 2014. Available: http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/115199-north-yemen-clashes-kill-20-people
[4] “Interior Ministry announces charges against person for blowing up a pipeline in Shabeh,” Mareb Press, January 21, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=64398&lng=arabic
[5] “Two killed in clashes between tribal gunmen and security forces in downtown Ma'rib,” al Masdar Online, January 22, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/53928
[6] “AQAP defendant imprisoned for manufacturing and placing bombs in four places in secretariat,” 26 Sept, January 20, 2014 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=99461
[7] “Yemen militants demand ransom for South African,” AP, January 21, 2014. Available: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Yemen-militants-demand-ransom-for-South-African-5161486.php
[8] “AQAP Official Urges Fighters to be Pious, Reject Discord,” SITE Intel Group, January 20, 2014. Available at SITE.
[9] “Ethiopian troops join African force in Somalia,” Shabelle News, January 22, 2014. Available: http://shabelle.net/?p=11950
“Ethiopian Forces formally integrated into AMISOM,” AMISOM Press Release, January 22, 2014. Available:  http://amisom-au.org/2014/01/ethiopian-forces-formally-integrated-into-amisom/