Gulf of Aden Security Review - July 22, 2013

Yemen: Gunmen kidnap Iranian diplomat in Sana’a; power station sabotaged in Aden; gunmen ambush director of Walad Rabi’a, al Bayda; car bomb injures brigadier general in Sana’a; U.S. ambassador meets with Yemeni chief of staff; al Houthis shoot at Sheikh Shatab al Ghouli in Damaj, Sa’ada; clashes between police and YECO guards in Hadramawt; AQAP kills popular committee leader of Abyan; al Houthis prevent tarawih prayers in Sa’ada; jihadists pledge continuing attacks despite death of al Shihri; al Houthis shoot at youth revolution members in Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a officials announce creation of new state; UN says al Shabaab expanding operations in Kenya; UN report says U.S. government is killing terrorist leaders in Kenya; unknown gunmen kill court official in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; grenade attack occurs in Howlwadag district, Mogadishu; IED attack targets AMISOM convoy in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; IED attack targets AMISOM convoy in Elasha Biyaha, Banadir region; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan base in Badhadhe, Lower Jubba region; Somali troops fight al Shabaab militants near Awdinle, Bay region; al Shabaab militants clash with Ras Kamboni troops outside Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks Jowhar airfield, Middle Shabelle region; explosion targets Somali troops near Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; unknown gunmen kill doctor in Elasha Biyaha, Banadir region; Ras Kamboni troops conduct security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali and AMISOM troops conduct security operations in Bay region; British government releases terror warning for Kenya; Kenyan ambassador to the U.S. is fired; Puntland administration announces creation of new region; UN report says al Shabaab operatives working in Somali intelligence organizations; UN accuses Facebook of not facilitating terrorist and piracy investigations in Somalia; Somali head of intelligence replaced

Yemen Security Brief

  • Unknown gunmen kidnapped Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht in Sana’a on July 21. Yemeni officials did not release any further details. The Iranian foreign ministry confirmed his abduction.[1]
  • Gunmen sabotaged a power station in Aden on July 21.[2]
  • Gunmen killed Sheikh Ali al Ma’ati, the head of Wald Rabi’a directorate, on July 21 in an ambush near his home in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate.[3]
  • A car bomb seriously injured Brigadier General Abdullah al Mihdar, an instructor at Sana’a Military Academy, on Ribat Street, Sana’a city on July 21.[4]
  • U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein met with Chief of Staff Major General Ahmed Ali on July 21 to discuss bilateral cooperation and combating terrorism.[5]
  • Al Houthi gunmen shot at Sheikh Shatab Naji al Ghouli in Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on July 20. Al Ghouli is chairman of the committee overseeing the truce between al Houthis and Salafists.[6]
  • Clashes between police and guards at the Yemen Economic Corporation (YECO) office killed two in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on July 20. The fighting broke out when the YECO told police that they would receive their monthly stipend in cash instead of food aid.[7]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters shot at and killed Mohammad Obad al Hassani, leader of an Abyan popular committee, in Khormaksar, Aden governorate on July 19.[8]
  • Al Houthis launched a campaign of kidnapping and intimidation in Saqain, Sa’ada governorate on July 19 to prevent residents from performing the tarawih prayers.[9]
  • Jihadists, including frequent poster Nasser al Qaeda, wrote on radical Shumukh al Islam and al Fida’ forums on July 18 that efforts to attack the United States will go on despite the death of Said al Shihri and other al Qaeda leaders.[10]
  • Two youth movement protesters survived an attack by al Houthis in Sahar, Sa’ada governorate on July 18. The al Houthi group shot at their car while they were driving home. [11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) officials announced on July 19 that they created a new regional state in Galgudud and parts of Hiraan and Mudug regions. The new state falls under the Somali government’s federal system.[12]
  • The UN Monitoring Group on Eritrea and Somalia in a report released on July 17 said that al Shabaab is expanding its operations in Kenya. For example, the al Shabaab-linked Muslim Youth Center changed its name to al Hijra and is trying to increase its operational capabilities in Kenya.[13]
  • The recently released report by the UN Monitoring Group on Eritrea and Somalia accused the United States of targeted killings in Kenya. Under a program called “Al Shabaab/East Africa Al-Qaida Disruption Initiative,” the United State reportedly killed terrorist leaders including the MYC’s Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohamud who was shot in Mombasa in August 2012.[14]
  • The same newly released UN report stated that al Shabaab operatives work within Somali intelligence organizations. The report also accused former head of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency, Ahmed Mo'allim Fiqi, who resigned his position in March 2013, of maintaining close ties to al Shabaab.[15]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a Hiraan region court official in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on July 20. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting. ASWJ officials condemned the assassination.[16]
  • A grenade attack by unknown actors occurred at a busy intersection in the Howlwadag district, Mogadishu on July 20. At least one civilian was killed and as many as 12 civilians were injured in the attack.[17]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) targeted an AMISOM convoy in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 20. The Sierra Leonean troops inside the vehicle shot their weapons indiscriminately following the explosion. Four civilians were reportedly killed in the shooting; AMISOM casualties are not known.[18]
  • An IED targeted an AMISOM convoy in Elasha Biyaha, Banadir region on July 18. At least one AMISOM soldier was killed in the attack.[19]
  • Al Shabaab attacked a Kenyan base in Badhadhe, Lower Jubba region on July 20. Kenyan troops were able to repulse the attack but casualties are not known.[20]
  • Somali troops clashed with al Shabaab fighters near Awdinle, Bay region on July 20. Three people were killed in the operation and several more were injured. One Somali fighter was reportedly injured in the skirmish.[21]
  • Al Shabaab militants clashed with Ras Kamboni troops outside Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 19. Casualties from the incident are not known.[22]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked the Somali and AMISOM troops stationed at the Jowhar airfield, Middle Shabelle region on July 22. Casualties from the attack are not known.[23]
  • An explosion targeted Somali forces near Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on July 20. Two Somali soldiers were killed and several more were wounded. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.[24]
  • Unknown gunmen killed a well-known doctor in Elasha Biyaha, Banadir region on July 19. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting and the motivation is unclear.[25]
  • Ras Kamboni troops conducted security operations in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on July 21 and 22. Several suspected militants, as well as guns and explosives, were apprehended in the operations.[26]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops conducted security operations in Bay region on July 22. Dozens of suspects have been apprehended.[27]
  • The British government released a terrorism warning for Kenya, saying al Shabaab-linked terror groups are planning attacks in the country.[28]
  • Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta fired the Kenyan ambassador to the United States on July 16. The dismissal of the ambassador came a day after protests were held outside the embassy in Washington, D.C. A successor has not been named.[29]
  • The Puntland administration announced the formation of a new region in the northeast of the semi-autonomous state. The new region is called Guardafu, and its capital will be Alula.[30]
  • The United Nations accused Facebook of not cooperating with investigations into Somali terrorist and piracy networks. Reportedly these groups use Facebook for communication and networking.[31]
  • Reports surfaced on July 22 that the head of Somalia’s intelligence organization, Khalif Ereg, was fired and replaced by Mohammad Adan Koffi. Koffi reportedly has old ties to al Shabaab.[32]

[1] “Gunmen Kidnap Iranian Diplomat in Yemen,” ABC News, July 21, 2013. Available: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/gunmen-kidnap-iranian-diplomat-yemen-capital-19727676
”Yemen gunmen kidnap Iranian embassy employee: police,” AFP, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/yemen-gunmen-kidnap-iranian-embassy-employee-police-113072100691_1.html
[2] “Gunmen Attack Power Station in Aden,” Mareb Press, July 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=58084
[3] “Head of Walad Rabi’a Directorate Killed in Armed Ambush Near His Home in Rada’,a” Barakish, July 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=53463
[4] “High Ranking Official Injured in Bomb Blast,” July 22, 2013. Available: http://yementimes.com/en/1696/news/2652/High-ranking-official-injured-in-bomb-blast.htm
[5] “Chief of Staff and American Ambassador Discuss Cooperation and Joint Counter Terrorism,” 26 Sep, July 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=93809
[6] “Al Houthis Accused of Shooting at Chairman of Supervision and Control Council in Damaj,” Mareb Press, July 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=58039
[7] “Two Die in Clashes in Hadramawt Between Police and YEC Guards,” Yemen Times, July 22, 2013. Available: http://yementimes.com/en/1696/news/2658/Two-die-in-clashes-in-Hadrmout-between-police-and-YEC-guards.htm
[8] “Prominent Popular Committee Leader Assassinate in Aden,” Yemen Times, July 22, 2013. Available: http://yementimes.com/en/1696/news/2654/Prominent-Popular-Committee-leader-assassinated-in-Aden.htm
[9] “Al Houthis Launch Campaign Arresting Youth of the Revolution in Saqayn and Chase Others to Prevent the Tarawih Prayers in Sa’ada,” Mareb Press, July 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=58058
[10] “Jihadists React to Death of AQAP Deputy Leader, Threaten U.S., Saudi Arabia,” SITE, July 19, 2013. Available at SITE
[11] “Heavy Gunfire at Two Youth of the Revolution,” Mareb Press, July 19, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=57989
[12] “Ahlu Sunna Declares to Create New Administration in Central Regions,” Bar Kulan, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/20/ahlu-sunna-declares-to-create-new-administration-in-central-regions/
[13] “Al Shabaab ‘Setting Up Fresh Units,’” Daily Nation, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Al-Shabaab-setting-up-fresh-units/-/1056/1922528/-/13n85nvz/-/index.html
[14] “Kenya: Was Sheikh Rogo Shot by American Agents?” Kenyan Star, July 22, 2013. Available: http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2013/July/30403/kenya_was_sheikh_rogo_shot_by_american_agents.aspx
[15] “Al Shabaab Infiltrates Intelligence Services in Mogadishu: UN,” Garowe Online, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Al_Shabaab_infiltrates_intelligence_services_in_Mogadishu_UN.shtml
[16] “Senior Court Official Killed in Beledweyne,” Bar Kulan, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/21/senior-court-official-killed-in-beled-weyne/
“Ahlu Sunna Condemns Moalim Hassan Killing,” Bar Kulan, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/21/ahlu-sunna-condemns-moalim-hassan-killing/
[17] “Hand Grenade Kills One Person in Residential Area in Mogadishu,” Dalsan Radio, July 21, 2013. Available: http://dalsanradio.com/articles/446/Hand-grenade-kills-one-person-in-residential-area-in-Mogadishu
“Somalia: Grenade Attacks Wound 17 in Mogadishu,” July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.keydmedia.net
[18] “Four Killed in Somali Port as Explosion Targets Sierra Leonean Troops,” Shabelle, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.shabelle.net
“One Killed, Two Others Wounded in Kismayo Explosion,” Bar Kulan, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/20/one-killed-two-others-wounded-in-kismayo-explosion/
[19] “Somalia: Bomb Attack Targets AMISOM Convoy Outside Mogadishu,” London Universal TV, July 19, 2013. Available: http://universaltv.co
[20] “Al Shabaab Militants attack Kenyan Troops in Southern Somalia,” Markacadey, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.markacadey.net
[21] “Somali Army, al Shabaab Said Clash in Southwest District,” Midnimo, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.midnimo.com
[22] “Four Killed in Somali Port as Explosion Targets Sierra Leonean Troops,” Shabelle, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.shabelle.net
[23] “Al Shabaab attack Jowhar airfield,” Radio Mustaqbal, July 22, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamenitoring.org/july-22-2013-daily-monitoring-report/
[24] “Bomb attack Targets Somali Army in Southern District,” July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.dhacdo.com
[25] “Prominent Doctor Killed in Mogadishu Outskirts,” Bar Kulan, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/20/prominent-doctor-killed-in-mogadishu-outskirts/
[26] “Jubaland Forces Launch Security Operation in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, July 22, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/22/jubaland-forces-launch-security-operation-in-kismayo/
“Jubbaland Forces Conducted Security Operation in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/21/jubbaland-forces-conducted-security-operation-in-kismayo/
[27] “Scores Arrested in Bar region Security Operations,” Bar Kulan, July 22, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/22/scores-arrested-in-bay-region-security-operations/
[28] “UK Intelligence Warn Against Possible Terrorism Actions in Kenya, Dalsan Radio, July 21, 2013. Available: http://dalsanradio.com/articles/460/UK-inteligence-warn-against-possible-terrorism-actions-in-Kenya
[29] “Kenyatta Fires His Ambassador to the United States amid Somali Protest,” Bar Kulan, July 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/07/21/kenyatta-fires-his-ambassador-to-the-united-states-amid-somali-protest/
[30] “Puntland Parliament Approves New Region and Cabinet Members,” Bar Kulan, July 22, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Puntland_Parliament_approves_new_region_and_cabinet_members.shtml
[31] “UN Experts Slam Facebook for Somalia Sanctions Silence,” AFP, July 20, 2013. Available: http://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2013/July/30380/un_experts_slam_facebook_for_somalia_sanctions_silence.aspx
[32] @Daudoo, “Koffi made Intel Chief in Mogadishu,” Twitter, July 22, 2013. Available: https://twitter.com/Daudoo/status/359336073194774528