Saturday, June 30, 2012

Somali refugees in Yemen continue to feel scourge of al-Shabaab

By Adnan Hussein in Mogadishu
June 30, 2012
Thousands of Somali nationals have fled to Yemen over the past years to escape the violence and hard-line regime imposed by the al-Shabaab movement.
Little did the refugees know that the scourge of al-Shabaab and its al-Qaeda-backed ideology would follow them across the sea.
In February 2012, when al-Shabaab officially merged with al-Qaeda and vowed allegiance to its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the group announced that their members would join "their Yemeni brothers in jihad".
In the months following that merger, al-Shabaab has been on the run, losing control of a number of key cities and facing a united military front of Somali government and African Union Mission in Somalia troops.
As a result, al-Shabaab members have been reportedly fleeing southern Somalia in small boats for the shores of Yemen in an attempt to escape what many analysts say is the group's inevitable defeat.
Mariam Said of the Somali army's communication centre in Mogadishu said the actual number of al-Shabaab fighters in Yemen is unclear.
"No one can give an exact figure regarding the number of Somali fighters that are incorporated into the Ansar al-Sharia group, which are fighting the Yemeni forces. [However] it is a very dangerous situation," she told Sabahi.
The presence of al-Shabaab members fighting alongside Ansar al-Sharia, the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the fact that Somali nationals have been tied to terrorist operations in Yemen have created additional hardships for Somali refugees who are now under suspicion.
Somali suicide bomber kills Yemeni commander
On June 18th in the city of Aden, a suicide bomber threw himself on the car of Major General Salem Ali Qoton, the commander of Yemen's southern region, and detonated his explosives belt.
Medical sources said Qoton died upon arrival at Sabir Hospital.
A few hours after the incident, the Yemeni Ministry of Defence stated on its website that the bomber was a Somali national.
On June 21st, al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.
"We have heard preliminary news that the perpetrator of this criminal attack is a Somali national, but investigations are still under way to uncover his true identity," Somali Consul in Aden Ahmed Abdi Hassan told Sabahi.
Hassan explained how the incident will impact the lives of Somalis living in Yemen.
"We are convinced that the Yemeni people know very well that Somali refugees have not arrived in Yemen out of their own volition, but rather due to wars waged by the rebel al-Shabaab group that believes that they do not belong to one single nation but that the entire world is their homeland," he said.
"The police have every right to take certain precautionary measures to prevent security breaches, but we ask that they differentiate between those that have come to Yemen escaping wars in Somalia and those that are troublemakers," Hassan said.
The security committee in Dhamar province in central Yemen approved on June 19th a campaign to apprehend refugees who have flocked to the province in unprecedented numbers. The committee warned against the dangers of an influx of Somali refugees to the province, a development it says could threaten peace due to the security, social and economic problems that might occur, especially during a time when terrorist incidents are on the rise.
When asked about al-Shabaab's campaign to support Ansar al-Sharia, Hassan said, "[Al-Shabaab] had previously announced they would go to Yemen and join, what they called, their Yemeni brothers in jihad, and so we call on the Yemeni authorities to intensely monitor their coasts and borders so that this group cannot infiltrate their nation and destabilise their safety and security."
Most Somalis in Yemen pose 'no threat'
"I am certain that most Somalis do not pose any threat to the security and stability of our neighbour, Yemen, similar to how the Yemeni community has been living in Somalia for the past decades," the consul continued.
"We know that the people of Yemen love Somalis as they have broken bread with them, and their government has granted them freedom of movement to search for employment inside Yemen, not to mention providing scholarships for immigrant [Somali] students," Hassan said.
Faisal Mayow, 37, a Somali refugee who has lived in Aden for 12 years, told Sabahi that Yemen appreciates its fraternal, religious and neighbourly ties with Somalia.
"It has become the second country after Kenya to welcome Somali refugees, and Sanaa would not accept Somali citizens who are sponsors of al-Qaeda and brokers of al-Shabaab's Somali and foreign members," he said. "We will provide the Yemeni security forces with information to hunt down and detain those who infiltrate the [refugee] camps for the purpose of recruiting adolescents so they can be involved in conflicts in countries that they do not even belong to. We will fight the enemies of peace in every street and alley."
Stopping fighters at sea
Admiral Farah Ahmed Omar Qare, commander of the Somali Navy, called on Yemen to exercise caution and prudence regarding terrorist groups that are trying to inflict pain on innocent people.
"We call on the government and people of Yemen to provide more assistance to Somalis who have fled the al-Shabaab hell and to help them in any way possible in terms of food, medicine, clothing and shelter," he told Sabahi. "We ask them not to harm [Somalis] passing in the streets, working or even those trying to enter the country."
"However, those who are implicated in acts of violence and in support of al-Qaeda should be punished," he added.
"This is a very delicate situation and we will co-operate with the Yemeni government to target terrorists while they are still at sea, before they land on the shores of both countries, because this is not Somalia's problem alone but will spread towards Yemen and the entire region," Qare said.
"There has to be genuine international collaboration to end extremism and terrorism in Somalia and Yemen," he said. "This phenomenon is taking advantage of children's innocence and their naiveté to thrust them into a world filled with hatred and murder."

Yemen: Mines kill 81 in 2 weeks in embattled town

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press
June 30, 2012
Yemeni military officials say landmines laid by al-Qaida fighters have killed eight people in the past three days near the former militant stronghold of Zinjibar in the country's south. This brings the total number of mine deaths since the town fell to a military offensive two weeks ago to 81.
The officials also said six bodies were found Saturday outside Zinjibar and five more inside a well on Friday. They say the identities of the 11 have not yet been established.
The officials say engineering teams have removed some 3,000 landmines from the area. They spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.

APR signs 60MW Yemen contract

Sarah Ann McCay - 30 Jun 2012
APR Energy (APR) continues to expand its Middle East reach with the signing of a new 60MW contract in Yemen. The contract is the firm's second signing in the region in the last four months.
The Yemen agreement will see APR supply diesel engines to address anticipated supply shortages in the country through the latter half of 2014.
According to John Campion, CEO of APR, the recent Yemen win is further evidence of APR's hub strategy delivering tangible results. The company opened its Middle East hub in Dubai in early 2012 and has already signed contracts for more than 200MW from the region.
APR is enjoying strong growth in 2012. The temporary energy provider has signed new contracts for 344MW and contract renewals of 356MW, and now holds a backlog of more than 9,000 MW-months.

U.S. Indicts Man Accused of Aiding Al Qaeda in Yemen

June 30, 2012
A man being held in Britain has been indicted in Manhattan on charges that he helped to develop online propaganda for Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, federal prosecutors said Friday. He is expected to be sent soon to New York.
 The defendant, Minh Quang Pham, 29, traveled to Yemen and took an oath of allegiance to the affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, received training from the group and provided it with expert advice and assistance in photography and graphic design, an indictment says. It also says that in April 2011, he worked with an American citizen in Yemen on the propaganda effort, and met with another American as well.
The indictment does not identify the Americans, but their descriptions suggest they might be Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric, and Samir Khan, who helped to produce Inspire, an English-language online magazine published by the group in Yemen. Both men were killed in a drone strike last September.

Yemenis vow to continue protests until fulfillment of revolution goals

june 30, 2012
Thousands of Yemeni protesters took to the streets in the capital Sana'a, stressing that they continue to protest until all revolution’s demands are met.
The people here also hailed the success of Egypt’s election after Mohammed Morsi was elected president.
Protesters chanted "Victory for Egypt is a victory for Yemen and the rest of the Arab world."
This protester who came from the United States said a true change has come to the Arab nations.
Youth protesters have condemned the recent political developments in Yemen and accused political parties of compromising the main demands of the revolution. The Friday Prayers Leader sent a message to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the new government.
Many Yemenis view the victory of the Mulsim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt’s presidential election as the start of a newera, which will ultimately lead to the implementation of an Islamic Law throughout the Arab world.
The win of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt’s presidential election has rejuvenated the demands of the Youth protesters who have taken to the streets since last year calling for an end to the oppression.
Despite numerous attempts to sabotage the Youth Revolution, Youth protesters say they will continue to take to the streets every Friday until all their revolutionary demands are met.