Gulf of Aden Security Review - January 3, 2013

Yemen: Suspected U.S. targeted airstrike kills three alleged AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate; Yemeni official says roughly 460 AQAP militants killed in 2012; assailants throw a hand grenade at military base in Shabwah governorate; Popular Resistance Committees clash with armed gunman in Abyan governorate; assailants loot and destroy cargo trucks in Aden governorate; former Yemeni military officers reportedly training al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb targets AMISOM convoy in Marka, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab opens fire at wedding in Booca, Hiraan region; Somali president gives speech in Khartoum, Sudan; Somali defense minister visits Baidoa, Bay region; Somali finance minister speaks about new Somali currency

Yemen Security Brief

  • A suspected U.S. targeted airstrike killed three alleged al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Bayda governorate on January 3. The targeted airstrike reportedly occurred in Qayfa district of Rada’a city. Local sources identified two of the killed AQAP militants as Muqbel Abbad al Zouba and Mosa’ad al Zubayri. Abbad is reportedly the brother-in-law of Tareq al Dhahab, a local al Qaeda militant who was killed in a family feud in February 2012. A third AQAP militant reportedly killed in the strike has yet to be identified.[1]
  • A Yemeni security official reported on January 3 that Yemeni security forces killed around 460 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in 2012. The security official attributed the 460 AQAP deaths to a number of raids, airstrikes, and other military operations against AQAP positions. The security source added that from the 460 deaths, roughly 100 of them were citizens of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Somalia.[2]
  • Unidentified assailants threw a hand grenade at a Yemeni army base in Bayhan city of Shabwah governorate on January 3. The explosion, which struck the front gate of the 19th Brigade base, injured two Yemeni soldiers. Local sources suspected that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) carried out the attack.[3]
  • Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) forces clashed with an armed gunman at a security checkpoint in Jaar city in Abyan governorate on January 3. The gunman was killed and two others were wounded in the clashes. A local Yemeni news source identified the gunman as Khalid Awayn, adding that Awayn was a former al Qaeda militant.[4]
  • Unidentified assailants seized, looted, and destroyed a number of cargo trucks near a seaport in Aden governorate on January 2. One unidentified suspect has been arrested in connection to the incident.[5]
  • Al Sahwa reported on December 31 that a number of former Yemeni military officers train al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada governorate. Local sources added that the former officers previously served in the Yemeni Republican Guards. Tribal sources reported that al Houthi rebels have set up three training camps in Sa’ada and Amran governorates, adding that al Houthi rebels are receiving weapons from Iran and Lebanon.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A roadside bomb targeted an AMISOM convoy in Marka, Lower Shabelle region on January 2. The explosion occurred near a truck carrying Burundian troops. Three civilians were injured, but no AMISOM casualties are being reported. Police in the area are investigating the incident.[7]
  • Al Shabaab militants opened fire at a wedding in the town of Booca, Hiraan region on January 3. The casualty numbers are not known. The reason behind the attack is unknown, but al Shabaab has previously warned against music at weddings.[8]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud gave a speech to the Somali community in Khartoum, Sudan on January 3. He thanked Sudanese universities for giving scholarships to Somali students. He also reiterated his government’s promise that all al Shabaab youths will be forgiven and given a place in the Somali community.[9]
  • Somali Defense Minister Abdihakin Mohamoud Fiqi traveled to Baidoa, Bay region with a delegation on January 3. The delegation will meet with the local administration to discuss security procedures in the region as well as give troops in the area their salary. During the meeting, local elders asked the delegation to help increase security in the town and put an end to al Shabaab attacks.[10]
  • Somali Finance Minister Mohamoud Hassan Saleban spoke about the new Somali currency that is being printed and will replace the old Somali banknotes. The new currency is being printed in Sudan and Minister Saleban said the notes look good and will be very difficult to forge once in circulation.[11]

[1] “Breaking… 3 Individuals Killed in American Airstrike in Mt. Jamidan in Rada’a,” Barakish, January 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=42264
[2] “Security Official… 460 Killed from Leaders and Supporters of al Qaeda in Yemen during 2012,” Barakish, January 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=42273
[3] “Attack by Hand Grenade on Military Base in Bayhan and No News on Victims,” Aden al Ghad, January 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://adenalghad.net/news/35709/
“Grenade Attack Targets Army Base in Southeast Yemen, 2 Injured,” Xinhua, January 3, 2013. Available: http://www.nzweek.com/world/grenade-attack-targets-army-base-in-southeast-yemen-2-injured-40774/
[4] “One Person Killed and Two Others Wounded in Clashes between an Armed Gunman and Popular Committees in Jaar,” Aden al Ghad, January 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://adenalghad.net/news/35721/
[5] “Aden Port Security Under Threat; Aden: Burning of One Vehicle and Seizing of 34 Others by Armed Gunmen,” Mareb Press, January 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=50594
[6] “Yemen Officers Train Houthi Militias,” al Sahwa, December 31, 2012. Available: http://www.alsahwa-yemen.net/arabic/subjects/5/2012/12/31/25808.htm
[7] “Roadside Bomb Hits AMISOM Patrol in Merka Town,” Shabelle, January 2, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/roadside-bomb-hits-amisom-patrol-in-merka-town/
[8] “Al Shabaab Opens Fire on Civilians Who Were Celebrating a Marriage Matrimonial,” Kulmiye News, January 3, 2013. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=11566
[9] “President Mohamud Meets Somalis in Khartoum,” Bar Kulan, January 3, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/01/03/president-mohamud-meets-somalis-in-khartoum/
“President Hassan: Al Shababs Are Forgiven,” Kulmiye News, January 3, 2013. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=11565
[10] “Delegation Led by the Minister of Defense Reaches Baidoa,” Kulmiye News, January 2, 2012. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=11552
“Bay Elders Ask Government to Strengthen Security,” Bar Kulan, January 3, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/01/03/bay-elders-ask-government-to-strengthen-security/
[11] “Finance Minister Spoke of the New Somali Currency,” Bar Kulan, January 3, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/01/03/finance-minister-spoke-of-the-new-somali-currency/