Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 21, 2013

Yemen: Ansar al Sharia militants attack popular committee forces in Batis, Abyan governorate; car bomb found at military checkpoint in Sana’a; President Hadi meets with UN Envoy to Yemen Benomar and U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Feierstein; Yemeni Special Investigative Committee refers former Abyan governorate leadership for military prosecution; Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh recalls and arrests 30th Brigade officer; surface-to-air missiles reported missing from dissolved Republican Guard brigade; rocket-propelled grenade hits Islah Party building in Hajjah governorate; 10th Republican Guard Brigade soldiers attack civilians in Jumaysha, al Hudaydah governorate; Benomar meets with al Houthi and Southern Movement representatives in separate meetings; tribesmen clash with Saudi troops along Saudi-Yemeni border in Munabbih, Sa’ada governorate

Horn of Africa: U.S. government issues $10 million reward for two American-born al Shabaab terrorists; Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center denies claims of leadership trouble within al Shabaab; two security guards shot and killed in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali president meets with UN human rights expert in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia militants attacked popular committee forces in Batis, near Jaar, Abyan governorate on March 21. Two popular committee members were killed and three others wounded, and three Ansar al Sharia militants were killed in the incident.[1]
  • Yemeni security forces found an undetonated car bomb at a military checkpoint on 50th Street, Sana’a on March 20.[2]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with UN Envoy Jamal Benomar and U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein in the Presidential Palace on March 20 in Sana’a. The three reportedly discussed individuals withdrawing from the National Dialogue conference, and the imposition of sanctions on individuals obstructing progress in the Dialogue, including Ali Salem al Beidh and Hamid al Ahmar.[3]
  • The Yemeni Special Investigative Committee referred former Abyan Governor Saleh Hussein al Zu’ari, former Central Security Commander Mohammed al Masri, and former Abyan Security Director Abdul Razzaq al Marouni to the military justice system on charges of collaborating with Ansar al Sharia and handing over Abyan governorate to the group two years ago, according to a March 21 report.[4]
  • Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Saleh recalled Colonel Hamid al ‘Alfi, a member of the 30th Brigade’s staff, to Sana’a, and arrested him, according to a report on March 21. The mutinying 30th Brigade had refused to allow a committee appointed by Brigadier General Saleh tasked with mediating the brigade’s command change into their camp in Ibb governorate, Yemen.[5]
  • Twenty-six SA-3 rockets, as well as other medium weapons, were stolen from the stores of the dissolved 14th Republican Guard Brigade, according to a March 21 report.[6]
  • A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) hit the Islah party executive office building in Hajjah governorate on March 20.[7]
  • Members of the 10th Republican Guard Brigade attacked civilians in Jumaysha, al Hudaydah governorate, beating them with batons and rifle butts and burning houses on March 19.[8]
  • UN Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar met with al Houthi and Southern Movement representatives in separate meetings on March 20.[9]
  • Tribesmen from the al Amshaikh tribe clashed with Saudi soldiers on the Saudi-Yemeni border in Munabbih district, Sa’ada governorate on March 20, after reports that Saudi troops and vehicles deployed to Mt. Fidhah, an area three kilometers inside Yemeni territory historically associated with the tribe.[10]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United States government announced on March 20 that it would be offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of two American-born al Shabaab terrorists. The U.S. is offering $5 million for Alabama native Omar Hammami and $5 million for Jehad Serwan Mostafa, who lived in California but left for Somalia in 2005.[11]
  • The Kenyan-based Muslim Youth Center (MYC) denied claims made by the east-African oriented online news site Sabahi Online that the al Shabaab leadership was in trouble.  Sabahi Online stated that the most recent publication of pro-al Shabaab magazine Gaidi Mtaan, signaled leadership problems. MYC said that these claims were false and that al Shabaab leadership and power is growing.[12]
  • Two security guards, working for the interim Kismayo administration, were shot and killed in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on March 21. Bar Kulan reported that the two shooters were also security guards working with the interim administration in Kismayo. The attackers took the victims’ weapons and were able to flee the scene.[13]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with the UN’s Independent Human Rights Expert on Somalia Shamul Bari at Villa Somalia on March 21. Somalia is trying to join the UN Human Rights Commission and will soon be holding a judicial conference on human rights in Mogadishu. [14]   


[1] “Five Killed in Clashes Between al Qaeda and Popular Committees in Batis, Abyan,” Barakish Net, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=46952
[2] “Military Checkpoint Stops Car Bomb in Sana’a,” Barakish Net, March 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=46910
[3] “Hadi Agrees with Benomar on a Security Council Resolution that Includes Imposing Sanctions on al Beidh and Hamid al Ahmar,” Barakish Net, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=46951
[4] “Former Abyan Governor and His Top Aides Referred to Military Justice,” Barakish Net, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=46965
[5] “Saleh’s Son Summons 30th Brigade Staff Officer and Arrests Him in Republican Guard Headquarters,” al Masdar Online, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/43151
[6] “Mareb Press Reveals Largest Arms Smuggling Operation from Dissolved Republican Guard Warehouses to Unknown Destinations,” Mareb Press, March 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=53376
[7] “Unknown Gunmen Target Islah Headquarters in Hajjah with Grenade,” al Masdar Online, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/43148
[8] “Al Hudaydah: Wounded in Dissolved Republican Guard Attacks on Tihama,” Mareb Press, March 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=53384
[9] “Benomar Stresses, During a 2.5 Hour Long Meeting with al Houthi Representatives, Importance of their Participation in the Political Process,” al Masdar Online, March 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/43142
[10] “Clashes Between Yemeni Tribes and Saudi Troops on the Border,” al Jumhor, March 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.aljumhor.net/portal/news-14341.htm
[11] “US Puts $10 Million Bounty on American Citizens Suspected of Working with Terrorists in Somalia,” Fox News, March 21, 2013. Available: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/21/us-offers-10m-for-info-leading-to-american-terror-suspects-in-somalia/
“Jehad Serwan Mostafa,” Rewards for Justice, March 20, 2013. Available: http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/index.cfm?page=mostafa&language=english
“Omar Shafik Hammami,” Rewards for Justice, March 20, 2013. Available: http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/index.cfm?page=Hammami&language=english
[12] “MYC Denies Claim of Shabaab Weakness, Responds to Hammami,” SITE Intelligence Group, March 20, 2013. Available: http://ent.siteintelgroup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11530:myc-denies-claim-of-shabaab-weakness-responds-to-hammami&catid=7&Itemid=880
[13] “Gunmen Kill Two Security Officers in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, March 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/03/21/gunmen-kill-two-security-officers-in-kismayo/
[14] “Somalia Announce Judicial Conference in Human Rights,” Bar Kulan, March 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/03/21/somalia-announces-judicial-conference-on-human-rights/