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Regional brief as at 06 Apr 15

Regional brief as at 06 Apr 15

Saudi Arabia: Security forces conduct raids in restive Eastern Province

Saudi Corporal Majed bin Turki Al-Qahtani was killed and at least another five people, including three security personnel members and two civilians – were injured when security forces carried out multiple raids on suspected militant compounds, confiscating at least several automatic weapons and ammunition, in the predominately Shi`ite village of Awamia, located in the al-Qatif region, during afternoon hours local time on 5 April. Sources indicated that during the operation, security forces came under heavy gunfire leading to the arrest of at least four people.

Analysis: Saudi`s ongoing aerial and naval operation in Yemen has flared already high sectarian tensions across the restive, predominately Shi`ite Eastern Province. As such, there is a high likelihood of demonstrations and unrest at flashpoint locations in Shi`i neighbourhoods in addition to further crackdowns on suspected militants and security raids

Somalia: Kenya carries out airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab positions following major attack

Kenya`s airforce carried out a series of airstrikes, targeting and destroying at least two al-Shabaab training camps across the border in northwest Somalia`s rural Gedo region. Kenya Defence Forces spokesman David Obonyo indicated the aerial bombardments had been a success and that satellite imagery confirmed the camps had been obliterated. The airstrikes were in retaliation for the brutal al-Shabaab orchestrated attack on the Garissa University College, located approximately 200 km (120 miles) from the Somali border, that left 148 people dead on 2 April. Meanwhile, new intelligence indicated that one of the slain al-Shabaab gunmen involved in the attack was 24-year-old law school graduate Abdirahim Abdullahi, 24, the son of a Kenyan government official who had reported his son missing last year.

Analysis: Kenya is likely to continue carrying out limited aerial campaigns against al-Shabaab militants and compounds in the near term. That said, there is no immediate indication Kenya will escalate such operations in any manner that sees a departure from its policy of quid pro quo. Moreover, the fact that a government official?s son took part in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya`s history, underscores al-Shabaab`s increasing capability to carry out such attacks as well as security forces? challenge to thwart such plots.

Turkey: Security forces continue detaining DHKP/C militants following attacks

Security forces detained at least seven suspected Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), including at least two youths under the age of 18 as well as a UK citizen, in Isanbul’s Okmeydan? district, in what was the latest in a number of arrests following two attacks in which a prosecutor was taken hostage and subsequently killed at the Ça?layan Courthouse in Istanbul on 31 March. In the second attack, two police offivers were injured when armed assailants, including known female DHKP/C militant Elif Sultan Kalsen, opened fire on the police headquarters located in the Fatih district of central Istanbul on 1 April. Kalsen was shot dead while her accomplice was injured.

Analysis: Mass arrests of DHKP/C militants and their associated supporters are likely to continue in the near term while at the same time, the group is likely to continue carrying out attacks, specifically targeting security forces and military personnel.  

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