Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2022, clashes broke out between police officers and protesters in the capital Conakry during anti-junta demonstrations organized by the banned National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition alliance. Police officers fired live ammunition and tear gas at the protesters, who threw stones and other projectiles at officers in several areas of the city and its suburbs, including along Le Prince highway. According to the opposition alliance, a protester was shot and killed in the Wanidara suburb as a motorcade of junta leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya passed through the area and another protester was killed in the nearby Koloma suburb. Another 20 were reportedly injured. Authorities also arrested a number of protesters.
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 2100 local time (1630 UTC) on 17 August 2022, an explosion occurred at a mosque in the northern Kher Khanna neighborhood of Kabul, the capital. At least 21 people were killed, including a well-known cleric, and 33 others were injured in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion; however, the Islamic State Khorasan Province group has recently intensified attacks across Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 3): On 18 August 2022, police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators who had blocked a road in the Union Place suburban area of central Colombo. Approximately 1,000 people gathered near the Lipton Circus roundabout and marched along Union Place road to demand the release of protesters who were arrested during recent anti-government demonstrations calling for the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Protesters were attempting to block throughway traffic in the area when police officers employed anti-riot tactics to disperse the crowd. According to a local police spokesperson, at least six people were arrested, and several others suffered minor injuries. The Inter University Students’ Federation organized the demonstration.
In an associated development, a relative of former President Rajapaksa stated that Rajapaksa is expected to return to Sri Lanka on 24 August for the first time since fleeing the country on 13 July. Rajapaksa resigned from office at Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Singapore several days after fleeing Sri Lanka.
El Salvador (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2022, legislators extended for an additional 30 days the current state of emergency that was enacted to counter gang violence. The extension was passed with the support of 66 of the 84 congressional members. The legislation — which has been renewed five times since it was first imposed in March 2022 — allows the government to prohibit certain public gatherings, make arrests without warrants, and intercept correspondence and telecommunications. Since its initial declaration, more than 50,000 people in the country have been arrested for alleged gang involvement.
Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 17 August 2022, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Buenos Aires, calling for the government to implement broad wage increases amid prolonged heightened inflation in the country. The demonstrators, mostly members of labor unions and other groups that support President Alberto Fernández, began their march around mid-day in the Obelisk area near the intersection of Lima and Mexico streets and continued along Avenida San Juan, Avenida de Mayo, and Avenida Belgrano until arriving at Casa Rosada — the presidential palace. Meanwhile, a separate group of demonstrators marched along Provincial Route 202 and the Pan-American Highway, rendering traffic impassable. While the demonstrations severely disrupted traffic in the city, there were no instances of violence. Inflation in Argentina reached a 20-year high of 7.4% in July.
Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 17 August 2022, Chilean legislators approved a presidential request to extend the current state of emergency in the country’s Southern Macrozone area for an additional 15-day period. During the state of emergency, authorities will retain increased powers to enforce security measures in La Araucania, Arauco and Biobio provinces. Support for emergency rule remains strong among lawmakers, as the sixth extension passed by a vote of 107 in favor, 18 against and 4 abstentions in the Chamber of Deputies. Meanwhile in the Senate, there were 33 votes in favor of the extension and one abstention. Chile’s Southern Macrozone is home to several active indigenous insurgent groups that regularly attack individuals and entities affiliated with the local forestry and natural resource exploration industries.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2022, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Mexico in which Zacatecas state is designated as a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” area due to increased violent criminal activity. The updated travel advisory reads in part as follows: “Do not travel [to Zacatecas state] due to crime and kidnapping. Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.”
The full text of the advisory is available here.
Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 17 August 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey issued a terrorism-related alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy in Niamey advises U.S. citizens of an increase in terrorist activity in areas closer to Niamey following two recent attacks along RN6 highway west of the capital.
“U.S. Embassy personnel may move freely within most of Niamey’s city limits (péage). However, security escorts are required for embassy personnel when frequenting La Pilule riverfront area, dining at le Sloughi Restaurant, and visiting Three Sisters recreational area.”