Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 20, 2013

Yemen: AQAP launches coordinated attacks in Shabwah; security committee lists suspects in the Shabwah attacks; security forces foil attack in Belhaf, Shabwah; gunmen detain fuel tankers in Sana’a; 139th Mechanized Infantry repels attack in al Bayda; President Hadi reaches deal with GPC to extend presidential term

Horn of Africa: U.S. government pledges $69 million to Somalia; Robow criticizes Godane; Somali Federal Government replaces Central Bank governor; document links al Shabaab to attempted chemical weapons procurement; Jubbaland forces engage al Shabaab, are accused of harming civilians; Somali president arrives in Washington, D.C.; security forces release Hizb al Islam spokesperson; Somaliland MPs brawl in session; Kismayo civilians accuse Jubbaland security forces of torture; Ireland restores diplomatic ties with Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) launched coordinated car bomb attacks against the military camp at al Nashama, Shabwah governorate on September 20. The bombs killed at least 25 soldiers. AQAP gunmen also killed at least eight special forces soldiers at the security headquarters in Mayfa’a, Shabwah governorate. An official reported that five soldiers were missing and had probably been captured. The attackers escaped in stolen vehicles.[1]
  • The Yemeni High Security Committee issued a statement on September 20 condemning the AQAP attacks in al Nashama and Mayfa’a. The statement named 15 people wanted in connection to the attacks.[2]
  • Military officials said security forces foiled an AQAP car bomb attack on the Belhaf gas facilities in Shabwah on September 20.[3]
  • Gunmen in Ma’rib held up tanker trucks loaded with fuel destined for electricity-generating plants in Sana’a on September 20.[4]
  • The 139th Mechanized Infantry Brigade repelled an attack by militants using heavy weapons in Rada’a, al Bayda on September 19. Officials said the gunmen were attempting to take control of the location.[5]
  • A party official revealed that the General People’s Congress (GPC), headed by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, reached an agreement with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to extend Hadi’s term by five years in exchange for substantial changes to the document before the committee of 16 in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The United States government pledged $69 million to Somalia development programs on stabilization, economic growth, governance, and education on September 16. The pledge came during the “New Deal for Somalia” conference held in Brussels.[7]
  • Al Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, also known as Abu Mansur, criticized the top al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a speech on September 20. Robow’s speech claimedthat Godane had Ibrahim Afghani and Moallim Burhan killed and attempted to kill foreign fighters such as American jihadist Omar Hammami.[8]
  • Somali Federal Government replaced Somali Central Bank Governor Abdusalam Omer on September 19. Omer was linked to the mismanagement of millions of dollars within the Somali Central Bank in a July United Nations report.[9]
  • A document filed in a terrorism court case indicated that three men suspected of being al Shabaab members have “substantial knowledge regarding an al Shabaab…department that was developing chemical weapons,” on September 18.[10]
  • Jubbaland Troops and Kenyan AMISOM soldiers engaged al Shabaab with gunfire and artillery in Qoqani district, Lower Jubba region on September 20. Casualty figures were not disclosed.[11]  
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Washington, D.C. and met with Senator John McCain and other Congressmen on September 20. The president’s trip is intended to build support for Somali development.[12]
  • Somali security forces released Hizb al Islam spokesperson Sheikh Mohamed Mo’alim on September 19. The security forces released Mo’alim one day after he was arrested for inciting insecurity.[13]
  • Somaliland members of parliament brawled over a controversial tax bill during a parliamentary session on September 19. [14]
  • Kismayo civilians accused Ahmed Madobe’s Jubbaland security forces of torture, looting, and murder.[15]
  • The Republic of Ireland announced it would restore diplomatic relations with Somalia after two decades, on September 19.[16]

[1] “Suspected al Qaeda Attacks on Yemeni Forces Kill Around 40,” Reuters, September 20, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/20/us-yemen-attack-idUSBRE98J04V20130920
“Breaking: 8 Soldiers Killed in al Qaeda Attack on Police Station in ‘Azan,” Barakish, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=56330
[2] “Security Committee Announces Names of 15 People from al Qaeda Behind the Attack on Army and Security Positions in Shabwah,” Al Sahwa Yemen, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.alsahwa-yemen.net/subjects.aspx?id=33628
[3] “Heroes of the Army and Security Foil Terrorist Operation Targeting Belhaf Gas Station in Shabwah,” Yaspr, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.yaspr.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=10716
[4] “Ma’rib: Gunmen Detain Tankers Loaded with Fuel for Electric Power Plants in the Capital,” al Khabar Now, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.alkhabarnow.net/news/75687/2013/09/20/
[5] “al Bayda: Forces of the 139th Brigade Repel Gunmen Attempting to Take Control of the Military Location in Rada’a,” Nashwa News, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://nashwannews.com/news.php?action=view&id=28547
[6] “Saleh’s Party Agrees to Extend Hadi’s Presidency Five Years, With Conditions,” Wefaq Press, September 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://wefaqpress.net/news_details.php?lang=arabic&sid=8636
[7] “U.S. Pledges $69 Million in Support of Somalia’s New Deal Compact,” U.S. Department of State, September 19, 2013. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/09/214449.htm 
[8] “Al Shabaab leader speaks out,” Somali Current, September 20, 2013. Available: http://somalicurrent.com/al-shabaab-leader-speaks-out/
[9] “Somali replaces central bank chief criticized in U.N. report,” Reuters, September 19, 2013. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/19/somalia-central-bank-idUSL5N0HF12B20130919?rpc=401
[10] “Court document references al Qaeda-linked chemical weapons program in Somalia,” CBS News, September 19, 2013. Available: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57603620/court-document-references-al-qaeda-linked-chemical-weapons-program-in-somalia/
[11] “Heavy confrontations between Alshabab and Allied forces in lower Juba region of Somalia,” Shabelle, September 20, 2013. Available: http://shabelle.net/?p=4164
[12] “Somali president arrives in Washington DC,” Bar Kulan, September 20, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/09/20/somali-president-arrives-in-washington-dc/
[13] “Security Forces release Hizbul Islam Official,” Dalsan Radio, September 19, 2013. Available: http://dalsanradio.com/articles/1421/Security-forces-release-Hizbul-Islam-official
[14] “Somalia: Somaliland MPs brawl in parliament over tax-bill debate,” Garowe Online, September 19, 2013. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Somaliland_MPs_brawl_in_parliament_over_tax-bill_debate.shtml
[15] “Juba troops acused of terrorizing and oppressing civilians in Kismayu,” Shabelle, September 20, 2013. Available; http://shabelle.net/?p=4188