Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 20, 2012

Yemen: Explosive ordnance disposal teams disarm explosive device in Hadramawt governorate; armed tribesmen kidnap senior official at Ma’rib gas power plant; thousands of people demonstrate in Taiz city; Maj. Gen. Ashwal meets with Ambassador Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon speaks at press conference in Sana’a; armed tribesmen kidnap journalists in Bani Matar near Sana’a; President Hadi reiterates his commitment to timely presidential and parliamentary elections; motorcycle owners storm Department of Traffic Management in Sana’a; U.S. State Department issues new travel warning for Yemen

Horn of Africa: Kenyan soldiers attack civilians in Garissa, Kenya; Somali and AMISOM troops advance on Buur Hakabo, Bay region; four Ahlu Sunna soldiers are injured after a grenade accident in Dhusamareb, Galgugud region; Somali President condemns the terrorist attack in Eastleigh; a Somali immigrant convicted of planning a terrorist attack in America in 2002 is deported back to Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams disarmed an explosive device in al Qatan district of Hadramawt governorate on November 20. Local sources reported that the explosive device was placed in front of a security building. The explosive device reportedly contained a gas cylinder and explosive materials.[1]
  • Armed tribesmen kidnapped the deputy general manager of the Ma’rib gas power plant in al Damashqa region of Ma’rib governorate on November 20. The deputy general manager, identified as Mohammad Thabet al Abyadh, was taken to an undisclosed location by the armed tribesmen.[2]
  • Thousands of individuals reportedly marched in Taiz city on November 20 to support Governor Shawqi Ahmed Saeed’s efforts to maintain security in the city. Local sources added that supporters of both the Yemeni Socialist Party and the General People’s Congress Party participated in the march. The marchers also reportedly demanded that armed militias be removed from the city.[3]
  • Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ali al Ashwal met with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a on November 20. Both parties discussed joint military cooperation in the meeting.[4]
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke at a press conference in Sana’a on November 19. Moon urged Yemenis to continue their progress towards achieving a successful democratic transition. Moon added that the transition process in Yemen is “irreversible,” referencing Yemen’s progress since escaping civil war in 2011.[5]
  • Journalists for the Yemeni News Agency (SABA) were captured by armed tribesmen in Bani Matar, located southwest of Sana’a, on November 19. The journalists were returning from al Hudaydah governorate when they were captured. Security forces were able to secure the release of the journalists by cooperating with local sheikhs.[6]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reiterated his commitment on November 19 to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on time.[7]
  • Several motorcycle owners stormed the Department of Traffic Management building in Sana’a on November 20. The motorcycle owners stormed the building in protest of the government’s crackdown on unregistered motorcycles that are often used by terrorist groups in assassinations. Central Security Forces guarding the building reportedly fired live rounds to disperse the demonstrators.[8]
  • The U.S. State Department issued a new travel warning for Yemen on November 19. The travel warning urged American citizens to avoid traveling to Yemen, citing the presence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a fluid security situation.[9]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenyan troops in Garissa, Kenya attacked residents and burned down markets on November 19 and 20, in the wake of the killing of three Kenyan soldiers on November 19.  One civilian is reported dead, eight others suffered gunshot wounds and over fifty people are said to be injured. Garissa’s main market was also set on fire. Some residents, mainly youths, have begun protesting what they believe was a harsh retaliation to the November 19 killings.[10]
  • Somali and AMISOM troops are moving towards Buur Hakabo, Bay region on November 20. They hope to take the town from the al Shabaab militants who are currently in control. Some reports say al Shabaab is removing its troops from the town.[11]
  • Four soldiers from the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia, a group allied with the Somali government, were injured when a grenade from one of the soldiers accidentally went off at a restaurant in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region on November 20. All four of the soldiers were taken to nearby hospitals, one is in serious condition.[12]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has condemned the attack in Eastleigh, Nairobi that occurred on November 18. He stated that Kenya has helped Somalia in its war against terror, and an attack like this will not be able to weaken Kenya’s resolve.[13]
  • Nuradin Abdi, a Somali immigrant living in the United States, who was convicted of planning a terrorist attack on a mall in Ohio in 2002, was deported back to Somali on November 19. Abdi had been held in a prison in Louisiana prior to the deportation.[14]

[1] “Disarming of IED in Front of al Qatan Department of Security in Hadramawt,” 26 September, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?sid=86453
[2] “Kidnapping of Deputy General Manager of Ma’rib Gas Power Plant,” 26 September, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?sid=86449
[3] “Mass Demonstration in Taiz in Support of the Governor and the Demand that Security [Forces] Remove Armed Militias,” al Watan, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://alwatanye.net/72326.htm
[4] “Yemen, US Review Military Cooperation,” SABA, November 20, 2012. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news288511.htm
[5] Yemen: Ban Welcomes Progress with Democratic Transition, Says Process Must Be “Irreversible,” UN News Centre, November 19, 2012. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43540&Cr=yemen&Cr1=#.UKuNPuTAfng
[6] “Security Releases Journalists Captured by Armed Tribal Elements in Bani Matar in Sana’a Governorate,” SABA, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://sabanews.net/ar/news288524.htm
[7] “President Reiterates Commitment to Hold Presidential Election on Time,” SABA, November 19, 2012. Available: http://sabanews.net/en/news288403.htm
[8] “Breaking: Motorcycle Drivers Storm Traffic Management in Sana’a and Security Forces Use Bullets to Disperse Them,” Barakish, November 20, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=39738
[9] “Yemen Travel Warning,” U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, November 19, 2012. Available: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5814.html
[10] “Kenyan Soldiers Rampage After Garissa Shooting,” BBC, November 19, 2012. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20401136
“Kenya: Garissa Resident Shot After Army Launches Crackdown,” BBC, November 20, 2012. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20412594
“Fresh Clashes Erupt in Garissa,” Daily Standard, November 20, 2012. Available: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/ktn/index.php?videoID=2000061743&video_title=fresh-clashes-erupt-in-garissa
[11] “Somali, AU Forces Move Towards a Rebel-Held Town,” Shabelle, November 20, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/somaliau-forces-move-towards-rebel-held-town/
[12] “Four Injured in Dusamareb Blast,” Bar Kulan, November 20, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/11/20/four-injured-in-dusamareb-blast/
[13] “Somali President Strongly Condemnd the Horrific Grenade Attack in Eastleigh,” Shabelle, November 20, 2012. Available: http://shabelle.net/somali-president-strongly-condemns-the-horrific-terrorist-grenade-attack-in-eastleigh/
[14] “Ohio Mall Terrorism Defendant Deported to Somalia,” AP, November 20, 2012. Available: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ohio-mall-terrorism-defendant-deported-somalia-17764299#.UKuRzuTAfng