Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 28 April 2021, thousands of people participated in a nationwide strike and staged demonstrations throughout the country to oppose proposed tax reforms outlined by the administration of President Ivan Duque. During demonstrations in the capital Bogota, Medellin and other cities, demonstrators caused significant damage to buildings and other structures, and sporadic clashes occurred between demonstrators and police officers. Individuals looted some stores and businesses in the commercial districts of Bogota and Cali. The demonstrations caused significant traffic disruptions throughout the country, with some cities, such as Bogota and Cali, suspending public transportation services for several hours. The mayors of various cities — including Cali, Medellin and Soacha — imposed overnight curfews and put prohibitions on the sale of alcohol. According to authorities in Bogota, at least 107 people were injured, including 54 police officers and 53 civilians, amid the demonstrations, while 16 metro stations will remain closed on 29 April due to significant damage. The National Unemployment Committee — the organizers of the protests — stated that demonstrations will continue on 29 April and 19 May.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): During the early hours of 29 April 2021, student protesters removed blockades that had disrupted operations at Oaxaca International Airport (MMOX/OAX) since 25 April. The demonstrators, who are college students studying to become teachers, ended the blockade after officials from the State Institute of Public Education agreed to open a dialogue with the group to address grievances. Airport operations have since resumed. The blockade caused the cancellation of more than 80 flights. The students began the protest to demand that the government provide jobs for recent graduates.
Kyrgyzstan / Tajikistan (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 29 April 2021, clashes occurred over the installation of surveillance equipment at the Golovnoy water distribution plant in the Kocho-Boyu area of Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region along a disputed area of the border with Tajikistan. According to Kyrgz authorities, the clashes began at approximately 0545 local time (2345 UTC on 28 April), with gunshots allegedly fired from Tajikistan at a Kyrgyz militia unit stationed in the village of Kok-Tash, as well as at the village of Ak-Sai. However, Tajik authorities claimed that Kyrgyz military forces initiated the clashes. Sporadic clashes broke out after Tajik civilians began to shoot at Kyrgyz civilians and houses using hunting rifles, according to Kyrgyz media reports. Civilians from both sides also threw stones and other projectiles across the border. At least one person was killed, while four Kyrgyz and seven Tajik nationals were injured during the clashes. The Kyrgyz government placed the three districts where the clashes occurred — Ak-Tatyr, Ak-Sai and Samarkandek — under a state of emergency. Ownership of the water distribution plant is disputed between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with both nations considering it to be under their respective control.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 28 April 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Metro Manila area — along with the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal — will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) through at least 14 May due to high COVID-19 case numbers. Also, Santiago City, along with the provinces of Quirino and Abra, will remain under MECQ through 31 May. The following locations will be under a general community quarantine (GCQ) until 31 May: the provinces of Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon and Lanao del Sur, along with the cities of Baguio, Tacloban, Iligan and Davao. All remaining areas will be under a modified general community quarantine (GCQ) during the same period. Additional details regarding the MECQ are available here.
Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On 29 April 2021, authorities announced that as of 1 May the quarantine period for travelers allowed to enter the country will be extended to 14 days from the current 10 days in addition to other measures, including a nationwide face mask requirement in all public areas, effective immediately. Additionally, dine-in services and gatherings of more than 20 people have been banned in the capital Bangkok and the provinces of Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan.
Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): According to reports on 29 April 2021, unidentified gunmen attacked Yattakou village — located in the Seno area of the Sahel region — on 26 April. At least 18 civilians were killed, and one other individual was severely injured. A security official stated that the attack was likely carried out by militants affiliated with the Islamist State (IS) group, who operate along the border with Niger.
Analyst Comment: The event in Yattakou village occurred on the same day that three foreign nationals were killed and a Burkinabe soldier was abducted in eastern Burkina Faso, near the town of Natiaboni. While no group has thus far claimed responsibility for this attack either, militant Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State actively operate in eastern Burkina Faso. The two events do not appear to be related, but together highlight the increasing incidence of attacks against both civilians and security forces across the country.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 28 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issued a Health Alert regarding the availability of medical care, which reads in part as follows: “…. Access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in Covid-19 cases. U.S. citizens who wish to depart India should take advantage of available commercial transportation options now. Direct flights between India and the United States are offered daily, with additional flight options available to U.S. citizens via transfers in Paris and Frankfurt.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Analyst Comment: The alert is being issued amid a rapidly increasing rate of new COVID-19 infections as well as restrictions imposed on travelers from India by several countries in recent days. The seven-day average of new cases as of 27 April is 340,140 and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recorded 2,978,709 active cases as of 28 April. Currently, Belgium, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, UAE and the U.K. all maintain varying restrictions on travelers arriving from India. Shortages of key medical supplies, such as oxygen, have severely impacted medical professionals’ ability to treat COVID-19 patients. Additionally, lockdowns are in effect in states such as Karnataka and Punjab and are likely to be imposed elsewhere as authorities attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Anyone in an area under lockdown should be aware of the potential effects such orders may have on transportation or the ability to procure essential goods.
Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 28 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Events: The group called the Coalition of Victims of Repetitive Power Cuts has called for a sit-in on Thursday, April 29 at 10:00 AM in front of the Energy of Mali (EDM) headquarters. This is the second planned demonstration by the group; the previous one was forcefully dispersed by police on April 22. This event has not been approved by the government. Given the proposed location of the sit-in, it has the potential to disrupt traffic. Demonstrations sometimes turn violent, resulting in the burning of tires, clashes with the police, blockage on the roads and bridges, throwing of rocks at vehicles, the deployment of tear gas, and small arms fire.”
Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 28 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding a curfew in Rivers state, which reads in part as follows: “In Rivers State a curfew will take effect from 28 April at all entry and exit points with Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Imo States. The curfew will last from 8pm to 6am, and is being imposed in response to reported attacks and security breaches. On 5 April, Owerri prison in Imo State was attacked. Reports suggest over 1800 prisoners escaped. You should be extra vigilant if in the area.”
South Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 28 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Juba issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy has received reports that members of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in multiple regions of South Sudan have been threatened by purported youth groups and, in some instances, were subsequently targeted for violence by groups of armed individuals. Recurring demands by purported youth groups include access to jobs within the organizations, the departure of non-local staff (including South Sudanese perceived to be from other parts of the country) and in some cases, ultimatums of violence unless their requests are met. The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens in South Sudan who work for or with INGOs to consult with their organizations about the security situation in their areas of operation. The U.S. Embassy also urges U.S. citizens to avoid areas where incidents of violence against foreigners and aid workers are actively occurring. South Sudan is assessed as a Level 4 – Do Not Travel country due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict as well as COVID-19.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 29 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Zurich Police have notified the Embassy that a demonstration against U.S. counterterrorism policy in Turkey will occur on Thursday, April 29. The protest will begin at 2:00 PM in downtown Zurich and culminate in a march to the U.S. Consular Agency in Zurich. Local authorities are expecting up to 100 demonstrators. Zurich Police will be present and closely monitoring the demonstration. At present, there are no indications of similar protests in Bern.”
The full text of the alert is available here.