Gulf of Aden Security Review - July 17, 2012

Yemen: Taiz central prison deputy director killed in attack on convoy; new Salafi political party criticizes its exclusion from the National Dialogue; Ma’rib oil pipeline resumes production; U.S. requests $75 million in counterterrorism support for Yemen

Horn of Africa: Suicide bomb kills one in Mogadishu; ambush in a Kenyan-Somali border town kills three police officers; multiple blasts target Ethiopian troops in Beledweyene; Kenyan and Somali troops capture more territory near Bardera district after clashes with al Shabaab; Las Anod district commissioner and his deputy are taken into custody following a dispute between regional governor and police chief

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni security official said that unknown gunmen killed the deputy director of Taiz central prison, Col. Saleh al Awlaki, while he was in his car on July 16. Another car carrying his guards was also attacked. Two guards and Awlaki’s daughter were killed, and two other guards and another daughter were injured in the attack.[1]
  • Secretary General of the newly formed Salafi al Rashad Party Abdelwahab al Humaiqan criticized the Yemeni government for failing to include the Salafis in Yemen’s National Dialogue. Party founders claim that al Rashad plans to participate “in the political process at all levels, including taking part in presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.”[2]
  • An Austrian energy group, OMV AG, says that oil production has resumed in Ma’rib governorate on July 16. Yemen’s Ma’rib oil pipeline was initially shutdown in October 2011 due to severe damage from several attacks by suspected al Qaeda-linked militants.[3]
  • Senate Armed Services Committee lawmakers requested an additional $75 million for counterterrorism support for Yemen to be appropriated in the FY 2013 defense bill under Section 1207. Committee members reportedly approved the legislation in May; however, the Senate has yet to vote on the bill. Of the request, $29 million would go toward night vision goggles and high-end communications equipment; $15.1 million would provide heavy machine guns, sniper and assault rifles, rocket launchers, mortars and ammunition to the Yemeni military; $8.6 million would supply 56 up-armored Humvees; $4.7 would provide four Raven unmanned aerial surveillance drones; and $1.5 million would fund the construction of two “expeditionary bases” in Aden and al Anad in Lahij governorate for Yemeni troops.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A suicide attack killed a civilian and wounded three others near a market in Mogadishu’s Hamar Weyne district on July 16. Reports said the bomber was driving a car and detonated a bomb near the clothing section of the mall, close to the National Theatre. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]
  • An ambush near the northern Kenyan-Somali border killed three administration police officers in Liboi on July 16. Al Shabaab has previously launched similar attacks in the area.[6]
  • Multiple roadside bomb explosions reportedly targeted Ethiopian troops in Beledweyne. Details have yet to emerge on the number of military causalities. Following the blasts, Ethiopian troops halted public transportation and allegedly opened fire at civilians.[7]
  • A clash between al Shabaab and Kenyan-backed Somali troops killed at least five people between Fafadun and Bardera district in Gedo region. Somali military official Col. Abass Ibrahim Gurey reported that the army moved to within 40 kilometers of the militants, adding that they are close to rebel-held Bardera district.[8]
  • Las Anod district commissioner Mohamed Hajji Hussein and his deputy Mohamed Adam Mo’alim were arrested following a disagreement between them and the area regional governor, Mohamed Mohamed Ali, and the police chief, Ali Ismail. Reports indicated that the two were taken into custody when their attempt to make amends with Ali and Ismail prompted a physical confrontation between their security guards.[9]    

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Yemen: Prison Official, Daughter, Two Guards Killed,” AP, July 16, 2012. Available: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/16/4633996/yemen-prison-official-daughter.html
[2] “Yemen Salafists Criticize Their Exclusion from National Dialogue,” Middle East Online, July 16, 2012. Available: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=53421
[3] “OMV Says Restarted Yemen Production on Monday,” Reuters, July 17, 2012. Available: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/17/omv-yemen-idUKWEA684620120717
[4] Carlo Munoz, “Details Emerge on US Counterterrorism Support for Yemen,” Defcon Hill, July 16, 2012. Available: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/238091-details-emerge-on-us-counterterrorism-support-for-yemen-
[5] Abdalle Ahmed, “Suicide Explosion Hits Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, July 16, 2012. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2012/07/breaking-news-suicide-explosion-hits-mogadishu/
[6] “Three Kenya Police Killed Near Somali-border Police,” Bar Kulan, July 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/07/17/three-kenya-police-killed-near-somali-border-police/
[7] “Dawn Explosions Rock Ethiopian Troops in Beledweyne Town,” Shabelle Media Network, July 17, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/07/17/dawn-explosions-rock-ethiopian-troops-in-beledweyne-town/
[8] “Deadly Fight Erupts On the Outskirts of Bardera Town, Gedo Region,” Bar Kulan, July 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/07/17/deadly-fight-erupts-on-the-outskirt-of-bardera-town-gedo-region/
[9] “Las Anod District Commissioner, His Deputy in Police Custody,” Bar Kulan, July 17, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/07/17/las-anod-district-commissioner-his-deputy-in-police-custody/