Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 3, 2013

Yemen: The boat interdicted on May 2 in Bab al Mandab reportedly was carrying 8,500 pistols; CNN claims that several AQAP members were involved in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya; Yemeni soldiers detain an infiltrator in Mukayras district, al Bayda governorate, exchange fire with gunmen; clashes break out between the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade and tribal militants in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate; al Houthi rebels storm four mosques in Sa’ada, Sa’ada governorate; gunmen attack police station in al Muzaffar district, Taiz governorate; former President Saleh meets with the leaders of the National Dialogue, calls for a new political system; tribesmen from Taiz and Shabwah governorates swap prisoners

Horn of Africa: Grenade attack targets Somali soldier in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali troops dismantle road blocks, make arrests in Jowhar and Balad, Middle Shabelle region; unknown East African fighters release biography on Abu Uhud al Masri; United Nations Security Council creates assistance mission to deploy to Somalia; Somali cabinet appoints new head of intelligence and new police chief; IGAD members meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

  • The fishing boat seized in Bab al Mandab on May 2 was reportedly carrying 200 cartons of Turkish-made pistols (8,500 pistols in total). The boat itself is the same type typically used to smuggle weapons from the Horn of Africa, according to Barakish news site.[1]
  • Three or four Yemeni men belonging to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took part in the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, according to CNN.[2]
  • An infiltrator was detained by Yemeni soldiers after breaking into a military barracks in Mukayras district, al Bayda governorate on May 2. The soldiers exchanged fire with gunmen after detaining him.[3]
  • Violent clashes broke out between the Third Mountain Infantry Brigade and tribal militants near the presidential palace in Ma’rib, Ma’rib governorate on May 3.[4]
  • Residents claim that hundreds of armed al Houthi rebels stormed four mosques aligned with the Islah Party and Salafists in Sa’ada, Sa’ada governorate on May 3. The rebels reportedly set up check points at the entrances of the mosques and interrupted prayers with the al Houthi chant “Death to America…Death to Israel.”[5]
  • Gunmen attacked a police station in al Muzaffar district, Taiz governorate on May 2 in an attempt to free a suspect being held there pending trial.[6]
  • Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on all political parties to work together and change the political system in Yemen during a meeting with National Dialogue Conference (NDC) leaders on May 1 in Sana’a. The General People’s Congress (GPC), which Saleh leads, has reportedly been studying the political situation in Yemen in hopes of prescribing a different system of governance at both the local and national levels. [7]
  • Tribesmen from Sharab district, Taiz governorate and Nisab district, Shabwah governorate swapped detainees on May 3 in al Rahidah, Taiz governorate following tribal mediation efforts.[8] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An unknown attacker threw a grenade at a restaurant, killing a Somali soldier and injuring two civilians in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on May 2. Somali troops conducted security operations in the town following the attack and arrested six people.[9]
  • Somali troops dismantled several illegal checkpoints and arrested those people manning the roadblocks in Jowhar and Balad, Middle Shabelle region on May 2.[10]
  • Unknown East African fighters released their fifth installation of a biographical series on April 26. The biography was written on Abu Uhud al Masri, a close friend of Bilal al Berjawi, who trained in Baidoa and was ultimately killed in an airstrike in February 2012.[11]
  • The United Nations Security Council agreed to create a new assistance mission in Somalia called UNSOM. UNSOM will be based out of Mogadishu and will start on June 3 and run for a trial period of 12 months.  The mission is to provide Somalia with assistance in the peace- and state-building process.[12]
  • The Somali cabinet appointed a new head of intelligence and a new police chief in Mogadishu on May 2. Bashir Mohamed Jama “Gobe” was made the new head of the National Intelligence and Security Agency and Abdihakin Dahir Saaid was promoted from deputy police chief to police chief.[13]
  • Heads of state from Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 3 to discuss a stabilization plan for Somalia.[14]   

[1] “New information about the arms shipment seized in Bab al Mandab,” Barakish, May 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=49547
[2] Paul Cruickshank, Tim Lister, Nic Robertson, Fran Townsend, “Sources: 3 al Qaeda operatives took part in Benghazi attack,” CNN, May 3, 2013. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/02/world/africa/us-libya-benghazi-suspects/index.html
[3] “Al Bayda: Soldiers, gunmen exchange fire after intruder arrested,” Mareb Press, May 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=55080
[4] “Urgent: Violent clashes near the presidential palace in Ma’rib,” Barakish, May 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=49538
[5] “Residents: al Houthi gunmen raid mosques in Sa’ada to chant their slogan,” Al Masdar Online, May 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/45063
[6] “Taiz: Girl injured by gunmen trying to loot car…others attack police department,” Mareb Press, May 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=arabic&sid=55081
[7] “Saleh supports changing the government in Yemen,” Aden al Ghad, May 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://adenalghad.net/news/48861/#.UYOw4aKG3ng
[8] “Detainees exchange between tribes from Sharab and Shabwah in al Rahidah,” Barakish, May 3, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=49521
[9] “Grenade Attack Kills a Government Soldier in Beledweyne Town,” Bar Kulan, May 3, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/03/grenade-attack-kills-a-government-soldier-in-beleweyne-town/
[10] “Government Forces Overran Illegal Checkpoints in Middle Shabelle Region,” Bar Kulan, May 2, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/02/government-forces-overran-illegal-checkpoints-in-middle-shabelle-region/
[11] “East African Group Gives Biography of Shabaab Fighter Abu Uhud al Masri,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 2, 2013. Available at SITE.
[12] “Somalia: UN Declares New Mission in Somalia, UNSOM,” Raxanreeb, May 3, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/05/somalia-un-declares-new-mission-in-somalia-unsom/
[13] “Somalia: Cabinet Endorses New National Security and Police Chiefs,” Raxanreeb, May 2, 2013. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/05/somalia-cabinet-endorses-new-national-security-and-police-chiefs/
“Bashir Gobe Appointed as Somalia’s New Intelligence Boss,” Bar Kulan, May 2, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/02/bashir-gobe-appointed-as-somalias-new-intelligence-boss/
[14] “President Uhuru Heads to Ethiopia for IGAD Summit,” Kenyan Star, May 3, 2013. Available: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-118999/president-uhuru-heads-ethiopia-igad-summit
“IGAD Foreign Ministers to Meet in Addis to Discuss Somalia’s Stabilization Plan,” Bar Kulan, May 2, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/05/02/igad-foreign-ministers-to-meet-in-addis-to-discuss-somalias-stabilization-plan/