Gulf of Aden Security Review
A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.
Yemen: Suspected U.S. targeted airstrike kills three AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate; gunmen shoot dead a Yemeni intelligence officer in Hadramawt governorate; security forces arrest 11 AQAP militants in al Dhaleh governorate; assailants bomb an oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate; assailants attempt to bomb oil transportation vehicles in Hadramawt governorate; Popular Resistance Committees clash in Abyan governorate; a Yemeni Rescue police officer kills his senior commander in al Bayda governorate; security convoy runs over protesters in Sana’a; security forces arrest an alleged Israeli spy in Yemen; assailants throw a hand grenade a reporter’s house in Amran governorate; hundreds of southern soldiers will reportedly be recalled to duty; jihadist forum user identifies three additional individuals killed in a targeted airstrike in al Bayda governorate; AQAP offers bounty for the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab leaders flee Bardhere, Gedo region; Ethiopian court convicts ten al Shabaab militants; Puntland forces carry out security operations in Galkayo, Mudug region; Puntland forces carry out security operations in Garowe, Nugaal region; man wearing suicide vest arrested in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; nighttime curfew imposed in Beled Hawo, Gedo region; election protestors killed in Hargeisa, Wooqooyi Galbeed region; al Shabaab responds to IGAD proposal on Twitter; al Shabaab leader in Middle Shabelle says al Shabaab will retake the region; Somali Parliament passes the 2013 budget; Garissa official blames recent terror attacks on TFG defectors; Arab League to give money to education development in Somalia; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud travels to Sudan; Somali Minister of State Farah Sheikh Mohamed travels to Saudi Arabia; Somali refugees are leaving Kenya and returning home; UN Special Representative Augustine P. Mahiga congratulates Somalia on its development in 2012
Yemen Security Brief
- A suspected U.S. targeted airstrike killed three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Bayda governorate on December 29. The targeted airstrike reportedly struck a vehicle in al Manasa village, killing a senior regional leader identified as Saleh Mohammad al Ameri and two additional unidentified militants.
- Two unidentified gunmen shot dead a Yemeni intelligence officer in al Mukalla city in Hadramawt governorate on December 29. The Yemeni intelligence officer was identified as Mutea Baqutian.
- Local sources reported on December 31 that Yemeni security forces arrested at least 11 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in al Dhaleh governorate.
- Unidentified assailants reportedly bombed an oil pipeline in Ma’rib governorate on December 28. Local sources reported that the bombing occurred in Kilo 107 region in Wadi Habab.
- Unidentified assailants attempted to bomb oil transportation vehicles in Hadramawt governorate on January 1. Local sources reported that the assailants planted a landmine on a road, attempting to target oncoming oil transportation vehicles. The landmine detonated prematurely, exploding before the vehicles arrived. The assailants then exchanged gunfire with a protection detail traveling with the vehicles before fleeing the scene.
- Two separate groups of Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) clashed in Zinjibar city in Abyan governorate on January 2. Local sources reported that one of the PRC groups attempted to intercept a team of engineers tasked with repairing damaged property in Zinjibar. A second PRC group then intervened, leading to clashes between the two groups. At least two PRC soldiers were wounded in the clashes.
- An unidentified Yemeni Rescue police officer killed the director of police operations in al Bayda governorate on December 31. Local sources reported that a dispute between the two led to the killing of Mohammad al Nehari, a regional director of operations for the Rescue Police.
- A security convoy for Yemeni Interior Minister Abdul Qadir Qahtan ran over a number of Yemeni air force personnel who were protesting in front of the parliament building in Sana’a on January 2. Four protesters were wounded in the assault.
- Local Yemeni sources citing an Israeli newspaper reported on January 2 that Yemeni security forces arrested an alleged Israeli spy in Yemen. The spy, identified as Ibrahim Adra’a, is reportedly a dual Yemeni-Israeli citizen and is accused of attempting to build a spy network across all of Yemen.
- Unidentified assailants threw a hand grenade at the house of a prominent newspaper editor in Amran governorate on January 1. Local sources reported that the unidentified assailants threw a grenade at Khaled Qareni’s house, a senior editor for the 26 September newspaper. The attack did not result in casualties.
- Local sources reported on January 2 that hundreds of southern soldiers, who were removed from service following the 1994 Yemeni civil war, will be called back to duty. A committee responsible for organizing the process was sent by the Yemeni Defense Ministry to Aden to begin initial efforts.
- An unidentified jihadist forum user identified three additional al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants who were killed in a targeted airstrike on December 24, 2012. Two AQAP militants killed in the targeted airstrike, Abdullah Bawazir and Nabil al Khalidi, were previously identified by a jihadist forum user following the airstrike. The three AQAP militants killed in the airstrike were identified as Musad al Nahdi, Khalid al Mahmoudi, and Abu Khalid al Taizi.
- Al Malahem Foundation, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released an audio recording to jihadist forums on December 29. In the recording, AQAP offers 3,000 grams of gold, or roughly $160,000, to anyone who assassinates the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein. AQAP also offered $23,000 to anyone who kills a U.S. soldier serving in Yemen. The bounties were reportedly offered to encourage Muslims for jihad. According to jihadist forum users, the audio recording is a redacted segment from AQAP’s “Jihad of the Ummah” video released on December 23.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab leaders have fled the town of Bardhere, Gedo region on December 31. Al Shabaab militants remain in the town and are preparing for an assault by the Somali and AMISOM troops. Somali and AMISOM forces are closing in on the town and are planning a final assault.
- An Ethiopian court convicted ten people on January 2, of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks on members of the Ethiopian government. Nine Ethiopian men and one Kenyan man were convicted of plotting attacks and setting up al Shabaab training camps in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Three of the people convicted were teachers and assert that they are innocent and were beaten by police in order to illicit a confession.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed a traditional elder in Galkayo, Mudug region on December 28. Gabobe Aden Dalab was killed in a restaurant by several men carrying pistols. Puntland security forces conducted security operations in response to the shooting on December 30. Over twenty people were apprehended during the operation, several of whom are being held as suspects for the murder.
- Puntland authorities conducted security operations in Garowe, Nugaal region on January 2. The searches were aimed at finding drug traffickers and suspects linked to murders in the town. The number of people detained during the operation is not known.
- A man wearing a suicide vest was arrested in Kismayo on December 29. The suspected al Shabaab militant passed through a Somali Army area where security operations were being conducted. He was frisked and found to be wearing the vest filled with explosives. The man was arrested and the vest was secured.
- Somali troops in the town of Beled Hawo, Gedo region imposed a nighttime curfew on the people there on January 2. Any person found outside after 9:00pm will be arrested and considered a security threat. The curfew is meant to increase security and safety in the town.
- Election protestors stormed the car of the Vice President of Somaliland Abdirahman Sayla’i in the Borama district of Hargeisa, Wooqoyi Galbeed region on December 31. The protestors, who believed the Somaliland administration interfered with newly elected officials in a neighboring district, clashed with the Vice President’s body guards. One person was killed and four others were injured in the skirmish.
- Al Shabaab posted ten messages to its Twitter page, rejecting the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s plan for Somalia. Al Shabaab said that it was a way for Kenya and Ethiopia to undermine Somalia’s sovereignty, and was trying to deprive Muslims of their way of life.
- Al Shabaab’s leader in Middle Shabelle region, Sheikh Yussuf Isse, said on December 31, that al Shabaab will regain control of the region. He asked those people living in the region to help support al Shabaab militants so that the terrorist organization can retake Middle Shabelle.
- The Somali Parliament approved the 2013 government budget on December 30. Of the 177 lawmakers present, 176 voted in favor of the new budget. This proposal differed from the budget rejected last week because it lowered pay for the ministries and increased Somali soldiers pay. Funding for development and security was also increased.
- The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a leadership finished four days of meetings in Dhusamareb, Galgaudud region on December 30. The meetings were held in order to security in the region. The militia said they are going to work closely with the Somali government and work to put an end to clan violence in the region.
- The recent terror attacks that have taken place in Garissa, Kenya have been blamed on soldiers who defected from the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). County Commissioner of Garissa Mohammed Maallim said TFG troops deserted the Somali army and began working with al Shabaab. Maalim also added that Somali refugees are the ones responsible for acts of terror committed in both Garissa and Nairobi.
- The Arab League said they are setting up a fund to help Somalia with development, mainly education development projects. Somali Development Minister Maryam Qasim attended an Arab League meeting, where the participating countries agreed to financially help Somalia.
- Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud traveled to Sudan on January 1 in order to celebrate Sudan’s independence. President Mohamed was met by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir.
- Somali Minister of State Farah Sheikh Mohamed visited Saudi Arabia on December 31. There he met with Saudi foreign ministers and discussed how the two countries could strengthen their relations.
- Somali people living in Kenya’s cities are now returning home after the Kenyan government ordered Somali refugees to move to refugee camps. Nearly 9,000 Somali people have returned to Somalia in the past two weeks. Around 400 Somalis fly into the Mogadishu airport every day, while others use ground transportation to return home.
- Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Augustine P. Mahiga, wrote a letter congratulating Somalia for the end of a historic year. Representative Mahiga mentioned the election of Somalia’s first president in 20 years as well as the advances against the designated terrorist organization al Shabaab.