Gulf of Aden Security Review - June 7, 2012

Yemen:  Clashes occur between Yemeni troops and Ansar al Sharia militants in Zinjibar; airstrike kills five Ansar al Sharia militants near Jaar; al Qaeda-linked militants rig car with explosives; thousands of Yemenis take to the streets in Sana’a; Madad News Agency releases 14th installment of its “Eye on the Event” video series; Ansar al Sharia judge vows to use seized weapons against the group’s enemies

Horn of Africa: U.S. offers reward for top al Shabaab leaders; tensions arise as TFG and Kenyan army advance on al Shabaab in Lower Jubba; UN receives information on potential threats and lists buildings as targets; Labeik Media Foundation hosts an open interview with al Shabaab scholar; TFG President asks elders to aid in government transition

Yemen Security Brief

  • At least 17 Ansar al Sharia militants and six Yemeni soldiers were killed in Zinjibar during clashes that lasted from the night of June 5 until the morning of June 6. The Yemeni military claims that it controls 90 percent of the city, but it is still fighting militants in Zinjibar’s northern district.[1]
  • Five Ansar al Sharia militants were killed and three others wounded in an airstrike that hit the eastern outskirts of Jaar in Abyan governorate. In Batis village, north of Jaar, two militants were killed while fighting against pro-government tribesmen. The militants stormed the village in an attempt to recapture it.[2]
  • Two civilians were killed and a third wounded when their car exploded in Aden on June 6. The car was rigged with explosives by al Qaeda-linked militants. The owner of the car, who was killed, was the target of the explosion; he was suspected of being a government informant.[3] 
  • Thousands of Yemenis protested in the streets of Sana’a, saying that they would stay in the squares and the streets of the city until their demands were met. They called for swifter military reforms and the prosecution of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. "Your fate will be like Mubarak's," protesters shouted in Tagheer Square. The demonstrators also carried Syrian flags, showing solidarity with the Syrian people.[4]
  • Madad News Agency, Ansar al Sharia’s media wing, released its 14th installment of the series titled, “Eye on the Event” on jihadist forums on June 4. The video focuses on the celebration in Jaar following the release of the 73 Yemeni soldiers captured on March 4 in Zinjibar. During the celebration, Ansar al Sharia’s leader in Zinjibar Jalal al Marqishi, along with Yemeni cleric Awad Muhammad Ba Nijar and a representative of the captives, gave speeches. The video also showed the captives reuniting with their families.[5]
  • In a video posted on jihadist forums on June 6, Ansar al Sharia judge Abu Bishr is seen standing in front of a tank and declaring that seized weapons that had been used against Ansar al Sharia would now be used against the group’s enemies.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The U.S. State Department added seven al Shabaab leaders to its “Reward for Justice” program. The program offers a reward of $7 million for information on the location of al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Abu Zubair; up to $5 million each for al Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur, Ibrahim Haji Jama al Afhgani, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf Shongole, and Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud; and up to $3 million each for intelligence chief Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi and media operations chief Abdullahi Yare.[7]
  • Tensions are rising in southern Somalia as Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Kenyan soldiers advance on al Shabaab in Lower Jubba region, where the insurgency regrouped in Afmadow town.[8]
  • Kenyan police authorities reported seven buildings as immediate threats to a terror attack by al Shabaab. According to internal United Nations (UN), even the headquarters of revenue authority is at risk. Authorities are restricting parking and screening all those entering the building.[9]
  • Labeik Media Foundation, associated with Somali al Qimmah Jihadist forum, advertised an open conference with a scholar in the Shabaab al Mujahideen Movement, Sheikh Abu Salman Hassan Hussein Adam between June 5 and 12. Questions, answers, and announcements are posted in Arabic, English, and Somali.[10]
  • Traditional elders were called upon by TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to manage conflicts via Somali tradition, draft a constitution, and appoint a new parliament of Somalia before August 2012.[11]           

[1] Ahmed al Haj, “Clashes in Yemen Kill 17 al-Qaida Militants,” AP, June 6, 2012. Available: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/06/06/clashes-in-yemen-kill-17-al-qaida-militants
[2] “Seven Al-Qaeda Gunmen Killed in Southern Yemen,” AFP, June 7, 2012. Available: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=406553
[3] “Yemen Officials Say al-Qaida Militants Rigged Car of Suspected Informer, Blast Kills 2,” AP, June 6, 2012. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/yemen-army-fights-on-to-recapture-southern-towns-says-at-least-26-al-qaida-militants-killed/2012/06/05/gJQA5BaEGV_story.html
[4] “Yemen Demonstrators Affirm to Stay in Revolution Tents Until Demands Met,” Yemen Post, June 7, 2012. Available: http://yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=5519&MainCat=3
[5] “Madad Video Focuses on Celebration of Captives’ Release,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 7, 2012. Available at SITE.
[6] “Ansar al-Shariah Judge Remarks on Spoils of War in Madad Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 6, 2012. Available at SITE.
[7] “Rewards for Justice-al Shabaab Leaders Reward Offers,” US Department of State, June 7, 2012. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/06/191914.htm
[8] “Tensions Mount in Villages Near Afmadow, South Somalia,” Shabelle, June 7, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/06/07/tensions-rise-in-villages-near-afmadowsouth-somalia/
[10] “Somali Media Group Offers Open Interview with Shabaab Scholar,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 7, 2012. Available at SITE.
[11] “Somali President Meets with Traditional Elders in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, June 7, 2012. Available: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=24517&tirsan=3