Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Gulf of Aden Security Review - December 28, 2012
Critical Threats
Saturday, December 29, 2012

Horn of Africa: U.S. State Department issues travel warning to Somalia; unknown gunmen kill a Kenyan police officer in Mandera, Kenya; al Shabaab militants are reinforcing Bulo-Burde, Hiraan region; five al Shabaab militants defected in Baidoa, Bay region; Kenyan forces catch al Shabaab leader in Kenya; al Shabaab says it is behind the nighttime artillery attacks on Mogadishu; Somali police capture two suspected al Shabaab militants in Guriel, Galgudud region; al Shabaab kills seven civilians in Elbur, Galgudud region; Nigeria to send 140 police officers to Somalia

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The United States government issued a travel warning for Somalia on December 26. The warning was a reissuance of an earlier travel warning that was released on June 15. The U.S. government said that because of terrorist activity, clan fighting, frequent kidnappings and the lack of U.S. diplomatic presence in the country, it would not be wise for any American citizen to travel to Somalia.[7]

Unknown gunmen shot and killed a Kenyan police officer in Mandera, Kenya on December 27. The officer was on patrol with his partner when four assailants shot him and then stole his rifle. The second police officer was unharmed in the shooting. Kenyan police are searching for the killers but have already blamed the terrorist group al Shabaab for carrying out the attack.[8]

Al Shabaab militants are regrouping in the town of Bulo-Burde, Hiraan region. A security official from the Hiraan region, Ahmed Abdullahi, said that since the capture of Jowhar, Middle Shabelle, al Shabaab fighters have been convening in Bulo-Burde. Al Shabaab commander in Middle Shabelle, Yussuf Sheikh Isse is reportedly in the city. Somali and AMISOM troops are preparing an offensive to take the city, but the several hundred al Shabaab militants inside, are reinforcing Bulo-Burde and are preparing to defend it.[9]

Five al Shabaab militants defected and turned themselves in to Somali troops in Baidoa, Bay region on December 25. The five militants will be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.[10]

Kenyan security forces caught a senior al Shabaab leader in Kenya on December 27. Sheikh Hassan Hussein was a senior representative of al Shabaab in Kenya where he worked to recruit youths to al Shabaab’s cause. Sheikh Hassan Hussein is known for pushing and supporting very hard-line tactics amongst the al Shabaab leadership.[11]

Al Shabaab has claimed to be behind nighttime artillery attacks in Mogadishu. An al Shabaab spokesman also said that the group has been carrying out operations in the city, including bombings. Al Shabaab asked people in Mogadishu to assist in its efforts against the Somali government.[12]

Somali police captured two suspected al Shabaab militants in Guriel, Galgudud region on December 28. The two suspects are foreigners, but their nationality has not been released. They are currently being questioned about a possible link to al Shabaab.[13]

Seven people, killed by al Shabaab, were found dead in Elbur, Galgudud region on December 27 and 28. Four of the deceased were men and three were women who were arrested by al Shabaab militants over a month ago. The seven people were taken into custody for not financially supporting the terrorist organization. Several of the people were beheaded and the rest were shot.[14]

Nigeria has agreed to send one Formed Police Unit, consisting of 140 police officers, to Somalia. The officers will be sent as a part of AMISOM and will give operational support to existing Somali police officers.[15]

[7] “Travel Warning: Somalia,” U.S. Department of State, December 26, 2012. Available: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5849.html
[8] “Gunmen Kill Kenyan Policeman in Ambush: Police,” AFP, December 28, 2012. Available: /news4/2012/Dec/27487/gunmen_kill_kenyan_policeman_in_ambush_police.aspx
[9] Al Shabaab Regroups in Bulo Burde Ahead of Major Assault,” Sabahi Online, December 27, 2012. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/12/27/feature-01
[10] “5 Al Shabaab Fighters Defect in Baidoa,” Sabahi, December 27, 2012. Available: http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2012/12/27/newsbrief-01
[11] “One of the Most Hardline Al Shabaab Religious Member Arrested in Kenya,” Kulmiye News, December 27, 2012. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=11444
[12] “Al Shabaab ‘We are Behind the Night Shelling in the Capital,’” Kulmiye News, December 27, 2012. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=11443
[13] “Suspected Foreigners Detained in Guri-el,” Bar Kulan, December 28, 2012.  Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/28/suspected-foreigners-detained-in-guriel/
[14] “7 Bodies Found in the Outskirts of Elbur,” Bar Kulan, December 28, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/28/nigeria-to-deploy-140-police-officers-to-somalia/
[15] “Nigeria to Deploy 140 Police Officers to Somalia,” Bar Kulan, December 28, 2012. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/12/28/nigeria-to-deploy-140-police-officers-to-somalia/


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