Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 21, 2013

Yemen: Security forces arrest four suspected AQAP militants in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate; Saudi Arabia executes five Yemeni nationals; tribal gunmen kidnap Southern Movement leader and National Dialogue Conference member in Nihm, Sana’a governorate; al Houthi front group Ansar Allah encourages protests against U.S. military operations in Yemen; Defense Ministry issues statement about counterterrorism capabilities and presence of U.S. forces in Yemen; Interior Ministry heightens security in Aden governorate in anticipation of retaliatory attacks by AQAP

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leadership responds to accusations against Zubair; al Shabaab releases training video to jihadist forums; al Shabaab spokesman claims responsibility for May 20 attack on Villa Somalia, Mogadishu; woman shoots and kills two Jubbaland soldiers in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; American, European, and Chinese delegation travels to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali National Army commander asks for troops to be sent to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; unknown attackers set fire to Moyongole village, Middle Shabelle region; Kenyan authorities announce slain Nairobi terror suspect was al Shabaab member; Ethiopian prime minister pledges military assistance to Somaliland; protesters show support for Somali prime minister, parliamentary motion loses traction; Somali president meets UAE parliament president

Yemen Security Brief

  • Security forces arrested four suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Sana’a, Sana’a governorate on May 21.[1]
  • Saudi Arabia reportedly executed five Yemeni nationals on May 21 convicted of “forming an armed gang” and committing several crimes, including murder. They were hanged in Jazan, Jazan province.[2]
  • Tribal gunmen kidnapped Mohammed Salem ‘Akoush, a southern leader and member of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), in Nihm, Sana’a governorate while on his way to al Mahrah governorate on May 20.[3]
  • Demonstrators, spurred by the al Houthi front group Ansar Allah, took to the streets of Sana’a, Sana’a governorate on May 20 to protest against U.S. military operations and drone strikes in Yemen. [4]
  • Following recent air strikes, suspected to be American unmanned drones, in Abyan and al Bayda governorates, the Ministry of Defense issued a statement on May 21 stressing that Yemen is capable of combating terror on its own. The Ministry also denied reports that U.S. Marines have been deployed in Lahij governorate.[5]
  • The Interior Ministry heightened security around several buildings in Aden governorate, including the headquarters of the Port Authority, SABA news, and the Political Security Organization (PSO), on May 20 in anticipation of retaliatory attacks by AQAP following two recent air strikes.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab’s press office responded on May 18 to claims made against the group’s leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair. American-born jihadist Omar Hammami and al Shabaab senior officials accuse Zubair of mistreating foreign fighters. The al Shabaab press office called the accusations slanderous propaganda, and warned all Muslim fighters against reading websites that publish them.[7]
  • Al Shabaab released a training video to jihadist forums on May 18. The video, which is in Swahili, shows an al Shabaab fighter demonstrating how to use an AK-47.[8]
  • Al Shabaab spokesman Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab announced that the terrorist organization carried out the May 20 heavy artillery attacks on Villa Somalia in Mogadishu. Mus’ab claimed that five AMISOM soldiers were killed in the assault.[9]
  • A woman shot and killed two soldiers from the newly created Jubbaland Army in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 20. The woman, believed to be allied with Barre Hirale, one of the self-declared presidents of Jubbaland, was captured.[10]
  • A delegation of officials from the United States, the European Union and China traveled to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on May 21 to investigate the validity of the Jubbaland presidential election.[11]
  • The Somali National Army commander in the Jubba regions said that there is no Somali government presence in the city of Kismayo and called on the federal government to send troops. City residents believe clan fighting is inevitable despite government assurances.[12]
  • Unknown attackers set fire to Moyongole village outside Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on May 21. One person was injured and many homes were set on fire. The attack was believed to be clan-based violence.[13]
  • Authorities announced that the suspected terrorist shot by Kenyan police in Nairobi on May 19 was affiliated with the Somali-based terror group al Shabaab and had been trained in Somalia before returning to Kenya.[14]
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn pledged military support to Somaliland during a speech in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, saying that Ethiopia would come to the aid of Somaliland against an attack from Somalia or al Shabaab.[15]
  • Thousands of protesters gathered in Mogadishu on May 21 to show support for Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, who is facing a motion from the Somali Parliament. However many of the original signers had decided to pull their support for the motion.[16]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with the President of the United Arab Emirates Parliament in Mogadishu on May 20.[17]        

[1] “Four members of AQAP arrested in Sana’a,” Barakish, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=50487
[2] “Saudi Arabia executes five Yemenis accused forming a gang, hangs them from cranes,” Al Masdar Online, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/45910
“Five Yemenis executed in Jazan for murder and robbery,” Saudi Gazette, May 21,2013. Available: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130521166713
[3] “Tribal source tells Al Masdar Online: Gunmen from the ‘al Jaradi’ kidnapped NDC member Mohammed Salem ‘Akoush,” Al Masdar Online, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/45921
[4] “The Houthis are spurring on demonstrations in the Yemeni capital,” Yemen Post, May 21, 2013. Available: http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6894&MainCat=3
[5] “The Houthis are spurring on demonstrations in the Yemeni capital,” Yemen Post, May 21, 2013. Available: http://www.yemenpost.net/Detail123456789.aspx?ID=3&SubID=6894&MainCat=3
“Defense Ministry says that Yemen does not require foreign forces to fight terrorism,” Al Masdar Online, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/45886
[6] “Anticipated terrorist attacks on the PSO, SABA, and Port Authority in Aden,” Barakish, May 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=50503
[7] “Shabaab Responds to Criticism of Leader, Denies Accusations,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 20, 2013. Available at SITE.
[8] “Shabaab Releases Swahili Training Video for AK-47 Assault Rifle,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 20, 2013. Available at SITE.
[9] “Al Shabaab Militia Claims Mogadishu Mortar Attack,” Radio Kulmiye, May 21, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/may-21-2013-daily-monitoring-report/
[10] “Armed Woman Kills Two Jubbaland Soldiers in Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/21/armed-woman-kills-two-jubbaland-soldiers-in-kismayo/
[11] “High Delegation from US, EU and China Visit Kismayo,” Bar Kulan, May 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/21/high-delegation-from-us-eu-and-china-visit-kismayo/
[12] “Somali Government Says Guns Won’t Decide Disputed Port’s Fate,” May 20, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/20/us-somalia-security-idUSBRE94J0IC20130520
“Military Commander: There Are No Government Troops Based in Kismayo,” Shabelle, May 21, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/military-commander-there-are-no-government-troops-based-in-kismayu/
[13] “One Person Wounded, Many Houses Torched Near Jowhar,” Bar Kulan, May 21, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/21/one-person-wounded-many-houses-torched-near-jowhar/
[14] “Terror Suspect Who Trained in Somalia,” Daily Nation, May 20, 2013. Available: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Terror-suspect-who-trained-in-Somalia/-/1056/1858214/-/vmbxp4/-/index.html?
[16] “Thousands Protest in Support of PM,” Shabelle, May 21, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/thousands-protest-in-support-of-pm/
“Parliamentarian Withdraw Support from the Proposed Motion against PM,” Shabelle, May 21, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/parliamentarians-withdraw-from-the-motion-against-pm/
[17] “Arab Parliament President Meets Somali President,” Emirates News Agency, May 20, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/20/arab-parliament-president-meets-somali-president/