Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 4, 2012

Yemen: Former President Saleh’s nephew resigns his post in the Yemeni Republican Guard; fighting between armed tribesmen, backed by Yemeni army, and Ansar al Sharia militants kills 12 in Lawder

Horn of Africa: Mogadishu’s Presidential Palace targeted by mortar fire; nine suspected al Shabaab militants enter Lamu, Kenya; al Shabaab-trained Kenyan youth pose a threat to Kenya upon return; al Shabaab releases 11 communiqués claiming several attacks in southern and central Somalia; U.S. voices support for AMISOM, IGAD, and UNPOS

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of the former Yemeni president, resigned his position as commander of the 3rd Republican Guard Brigade on May 3. Previously, he was the commander of the Presidential Guard, but he was removed by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and appointed commander of the 37th Armored Brigade on April 6, a position he never formally assumed. Brigadier General Abdul Rahman al Halili, the original appointee, will replace Saleh as head of the 3rd Republican Guard Brigade.[1]
  • Fighting between armed tribesmen, backed by Yemeni troops, and Ansar al Sharia militants killed 12 militants and wounded four civilians in Lawder, in Abyan governorate, on May 3. The civilians were wounded by mortars fired by Ansar al Sharia fighters.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A local resident reported that at least 10 mortars hit Mogadishu’s Presidential Palace, also known as Villa Somalia. No casualties or injuries have been reported.[3]
  • Nine suspected al Shabaab militants reportedly entered Kenya’s coastal town Lamu from Burgavo in Lower Jubba region on May 2. The suspects crossed the Somali border into Kenya after allegedly feeling pressured by Kenya’s offensive.[4]
  • A top Kenyan police official stated that hundreds of Kenyan youth who received training from al Shabaab militants in Somalia have returned to Kenya and pose a major security threat. In addition, Kenyan Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere identified the assailant who lobbed a grenade in a church in Nairobi on April 29 as Amar.[5]
  • Al Shabaab’s media wing al Kata’ib Media Foundation released 11 communiqués detailing attacks in Banadir, Lower Shabelle, Galgudud, and Hiraan regions between April 23 and April 25. Most notably, al Shabaab claims that it assassinated two alleged spies in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab’s Explosive Battalion claimed responsibility for an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in Wardhigley district in Mogadishu, reportedly killing and wounding 20 Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers.[6]
  • The U.S. Department of State released a press statement titled, “Somalia Political Process” on May 3. In the statement, the U.S. voiced its support for the joint statement released by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) on May 1, which threatened sanctions on organizations that obstruct Somalia’s peace process and political transition.[7]       


[1] “Saleh Relative Quits Yemen Army, Fighting Flares,” Reuters, May 3, 2012. Available: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-yemen-armybre8420tx-20120503,0,4444962.story
“Saleh’s Nephew Quits Yemeni Army,” Xinhua, May 4, 2012. Available: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2012-05/04/content_15212529.htm
[2] “Pro-Regime Gunmen Kill 12 ‘Al-Qaeda’ Militants in Yemen,” AFP, May 4, 2012. Available: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/May-04/172361-pro-regime-gunmen-kill-12-al-qaeda-militants-in-yemen.ashx#axzz1tpBtTBxX
[3] “Mortars Hit Somalia’s Presidential Palace,” Shabelle Media Network, May 4, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/05/04/mortars-hit-somalias-presidential-palace/
[4] “Police on High Alert after Nine Terror Suspects Enter Kenya,” Shabelle Media Network, May 4, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/2012/05/04/police-on-high-alert-after-nine-terror-suspects-enter-kenya/
[5] “Police: Militant-trained Kenyan Youth a Threat,” AP, May 4, 2012. Available: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/04/police-militant-trained-kenyan-youth-threat/
[6] “Shabaab Claims Attacks on Soldiers, Surrender of Militia Members,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 3, 2012. Available at SITE.
[7] Mark C. Toner, “Somalia Political Process,” Department of State, May 3, 2012. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/05/189278.htm