Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 1, 2013

Yemen: Jordanian member of AQAP reportedly killed in Abyan governorate; security forces arrest Ethiopian suspected of belonging to AQAP in al Hawta, Lahij governorate; rebellion in the ranks of the 111th Brigade stationed in Ahwar district, Abyan governorate; deputy head of military intelligence survives assassination attempt in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate; President Hadi meets with UN Special Advisor in Sana’a; U.S. Embassy delegation meets with Southern Movement leaders in Aden, Aden governorate; four new oilfields discovered in Yemen

Horn of Africa: Woman wearing suicide belt arrested in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali journalist attacked in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; five senior al Shabaab officials issue fatwa against killing Omar Hammami; al Shabaab spokesman vows revenge against Puntland authorities for killing 13 suspected al Shabaab militants in Boosaaso, Bari region; main roads in Mogadishu closed due to potential terrorist threat; Somali troops capture El Garas, Bakool region; Somali military commander says security in Kismayo is deteriorating 

Yemen Security Brief

  • Alaa Sayama, a Jordanian member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was reportedly killed during clashes with the Yemeni Army in Abyan governorate on April 30, according to Mohammad al Shalabi (aka Abu Sayyaf), a prominent leader of the Salafist-Jihadist movement in Jordan, and Musa al Abd al Laat, a Jordanian lawyer.[1]
  • Security forces arrested an Ethiopian man suspected of belonging to AQAP in al Hawta, Lahij governorate on April 30.[2]
  • The commander of the Fourth Military District has been unable to contain the rebellion in the ranks of the 111th Brigade stationed in Ahwar district, Abyan governorate. The troops expelled their commander and his staff officer from the camp on April 28, accusing them of corruption, and they are demanding new leadership.[3]
  • Colonel Mohamed al Harisha, deputy head of military intelligence in Haradh district, Hajjah governorate, survived an assassination attempt on April 30.[4]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with Jamal Benomar, the UN Special Advisor on Yemen, in Sana’a on May 1 to discuss the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).[5]
  • A delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, led by Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Richard, met with leaders of the Southern Movement in Aden, Aden governorate on April 30.[6]
  • The general manager of Yemen’s national oil company announced the discovery of four new oilfields on May 1.[7] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A woman wearing a suicide belt was apprehended while trying to detonate the belt outside a Kenyan military base in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 1. The belt was safely disarmed and the woman was taken into custody.[8]
  • A journalist working for a UN-sponsored radio station was attacked by a man with a sword in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on April 29. The journalist sustained wounds to his neck and back and was flown to a Mogadishu hospital in critical condition. The attacker was arrested and is now in custody.[9]
  • Five senior members within al Shabaab issued a fatwa against killing American jihadist Omar Hammami. The five senior officials, part of a faction opposing al Shabaab senior leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair, said that Hammami was not guilty of any transgressions, and that the fighters sent by Zubair to kill him should disarm.[10]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage released an audio recording on April 30 vowing to take revenge on the Puntland authorities who executed thirteen alleged al Shabaab militants in Boosaaso, Bari region. Rage said that the people were not al Shabaab fighters but innocent Muslims, and that the group would avenge their deaths.[11]
  • The main roads in Mogadishu were closed on April 30 and May 1 due to increased security measures implemented by Somali troops. Somali authorities received intelligence of a potential terrorist attack, a possible retaliation for the May 1, 2008 killing of former al Shabaab leader Aden Hashi Ayro.[12]
  • Somali troops captured El Garas, Bakool region from al Shabaab militants on April 29. Somali forces killed five al Shabaab militants in the fight for the town.[13]
  • Somali military commander for the Jubba and Gedo regions announced on April 30 that the security situation in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region is worsening. Somali troops are being deployed to Kismayo to impose order in the city.[14]   

[1] “AQAP claims Jordanian member killed during clashes with Yemeni army,” Mareb Press, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=55014&lng=arabic
“Agency: Jordanian militant killed in clashes with the army in southern Yemen,” Al Masdar Online, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44965
[2] “Lahij security arrests Ethiopian suspected of belonging to AQAP,” Barakish, April 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49418
[3] “Fourth District fails to contain the rebellion of the 111th Brigade,” Barakish, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=49441
[4] “Failed assassination of deputy intelligence chief in Haradh,” Barakish, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49448
[5] “The president meets with Benomar and says: Today we are even closer to a 'complete success,'” Al Masdar Online, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44964
[6] “U.S. Embassy Visits Aden,” U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, April 30, 2013. Available: http://yemen.usembassy.gov/ueva.html
[7] “Official: Four new oilfields discovered in Yemen,” Al Masdar Online, May 1, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/44963
[8] “A Woman Who Wore a Suicidal Belt Caught in Kismayo,” Shabelle, May 1, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/a-lady-who-wore-a-suicidal-belt-caught-in-kismayu/
[9] “Somalia: Seriously Injured Journalist Flown to Mogadishu,” Raxanreeb, April 30, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-seriously-injured-journalist-flown-to-mogadishu/
[10] “Officials in Shabaab Faction Give Fatwa Against Targeting Hammami,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 30, 2013. Available at SITE.
[11] “Somali Militants Threaten to Avenge Puntland Killings,” Reuters, May 1, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/01/us-somalia-security-idUSBRE9400AK20130501
[12] “Roads in Mogadishu Closed for the Second Day,” Shabelle, May 1, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/roads-in-mogadishu-closed-for-the-second-day/
“The Reason Behind the Closures of Roads in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, May 1, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/the-reason-behind-the-closure-of-roads-in-mogadishu/
“Security Tight in Mogadishu Following Reports of Possible Attacks,” Hiiraan Online, May 1, 2013. Available: http://hiiraan.com/news4/2013/May/29142/security_tight_in_mogadishu_following_reports_of_possible_attacks.aspx
[13] “Somali Troops Take over al Shabaab Stronghold El Garas,” Sabahi Online, April 29, 2013. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/04/29/newsbrief-01
[14] General Abas: The Security Situation in Kismayo is Deteriorating,” Shabelle, May 1, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/general-abas-the-security-situation-in-kismayu-is-deterioration/