Gulf of Aden Security Review - July 5, 2012
Yemen: Yemeni airstrikes kill al Qaeda-linked militants along Abyan-Shabwah border; airstrikes in Shabwah kill at least four al Qaeda members; army officers charged with cooperating with militants in pipeline attacks; Vietnamese man indicted in U.S. for supporting AQAP; police chief escapes assassination
Horn of Africa: U.S. sanctions individuals driving instability in Somalia; al Shabaab militants and government troops clash in Bakool region; self-planted explosive kills militant; five al Shabaab members abduct boy in Jowhar; armed al Shabaab militants destroy renowned clerical graves; police conduct mass search and arrest of explosives and militants in four districts
Yemen Security Brief
- A Yemeni military official reported that Yemeni airstrikes targeted al Qaeda-linked militants along the Abyan-Shabwah border on July 4, killing at least three militants and injuring seven others. Separately, one civilian was killed when an artillery shell accidentally exploded in Abyan. Three soldiers and six civilians were also injured.
- Two reported U.S. airstrikes killed at least four suspected al Qaeda militants traveling in a convoy in Bayhan district of Shabwah governorate, which borders Abyan governorate, on July 3. Two of the militants have been identified as senior members, Fahd Saleh al Anjaf al Harithi and Hassan Ali al Ishaqi. The strikes destroyed two vehicles in which the militants were traveling.
- Yemen’s defense ministry reported that two army officers, Colonel Jubran al Zayedi and Major Washash al Zayedi, have been charged for cooperating with militants in a May 14 attack on a main oil pipeline and other attacks on a natural gas pipeline. The two officers are reported to be close to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and that they worked with Saleh’s supporters from their tribe to conduct the attacks.
- Minh Quang Pham was indicted in a Manhattan federal court on charges of providing material support to and receiving training from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on June 29. Pham is a 29-year-old Vietnamese computer specialist living in London. He has used the pseudonym “Amin.” In December 2010, Pham traveled from the UK to Yemen, where he pledged his loyalty to AQAP, received military training, and worked alongside two U.S. citizens in preparing propaganda for the group.
- Saleh al Mustafa, the police chief in Sana’a’s Mathbah neighborhood, escaped an assassination attempt on July 4. His vehicle exploded minutes after he exited it. Mustafa suspects al Qaeda-linked militants are responsible for the attack.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned six individuals under Executive Order 13536, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Cotnributing to the Conflict in Somalia.” The targeted individuals are: Eritrean Colonels Tewolde Negash and Taeme Abraham Goitom, Sudanese extremist Suhayl Salem Abd-El-Rahman (Abu Faris), Kenyan cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed, Kenyan national Omar Awadh Omar, and Kenyan recruiter for al Shabaab Abubaker Shariff Ahmed (Makaburi).
- Clashes between al Shabaab militants and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops backed by Ethiopian forces, killed at least 11 soldiers in Bakool region. Al Shabaab ambushed a convoy of TFG and Ethiopian forces traveling from El Berde to Hudur in Bakool region. The TFG governor of Bakool region, Mohamed Abdi-Tall, said that troops killed at least 11 militants following the attack.
- An al Shabaab militant planting a remotely-detonated improvised explosive device was killed when the bomb exploded prematurely. The militant incident occurred near Yaqshid police station in Mogadishu. Yaqshid district commissioner Muhudin Hassan Jurus said the man was buying such devices about 60 meters from the station.
- Al Shabaab militants demolished the graves of Somali clerics in Dbagalo area of Harardhere district in Mudug region on July 4. The militants said that the graves defied Islamic practice, which discourages worship at such sites.
- Fighting between African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and TFG troops and al Shabaab militants left hundreds of families displaced in Bal’ad district in Middle Shabelle region.
- TFG police and national security services arrested al Shabaab militants during search operations seeking militants and explosives hidden in Mogadishu’s Hodan, Hawl Wadag, Wardhigley, and Yaqshid districts. Police searched residential houses and neighborhoods.