AFRICA Eswatini (Security threat level – 3): Anti-government demonstrators have...
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 21 January 2022, a shooting occurred at an upscale resort in Playa del Carmen in the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo after a verbal altercation between two hotel guests turned violent. Three Canadian nationals were wounded in the shooting at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico and taken to a local hospital. Two of the victims later succumbed to their injuries. Police officers are searching for the suspected gunman, who remains at large; the suspect and the deceased individuals all have criminal records in Canada. Mexican authorities have stated that a preliminary investigation concluded that the shooting was an isolated incident.
United States / China (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 21 January 2022, a shooting occurred at an upscale resort in Playa del Carmen in the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo after a verbal altercation between two hotel guests turned violent. Three Canadian nationals were wounded in the shooting at the Hotel Xcaret Mexico and taken to a local hospital. Two of the victims later succumbed to their injuries. Police officers are searching for the suspected gunman, who remains at large; the suspect and the deceased individuals all have criminal records in Canada. Mexican authorities have stated that a preliminary investigation concluded that the shooting was an isolated incident.
South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): On 22 January 2022, President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati implemented a nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown until further notice due an increase in new COVID-19 cases. Under the measure, residents must remain at home during 0600-1400 local time (1800-0200 UTC), except for emergencies or to purchase essential goods such as food and medication. Public transportation is suspended, social gatherings are banned and inter-island travel is prohibited. Authorities enacted the lockdown after 36 passengers arriving on a flight from Fiji tested positive for COVID-19. During the passengers’ quarantine at a government facility, three members of the facility’s security team also contracted the virus.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1500 local time (1400 UTC) on 23 January 2022, police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who were throwing rocks and debris at the European External Action Service (EEAS) building in the European Quarter of the capital Brussels. The demonstrators had gathered to protest the country’s coronavirus-related restrictions. Other demonstrations were also reported near Brussels North station and near the Grand-Palace central square as tens of thousands of protesters obstructed traffic and marched through the streets of the city center. At least 70 people were arrested, and 15 others were injured.
Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 24 January 2022, a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in the Neuenheimer Feld area of the city of Heidelberg. According to authorities, at least four people were seriously injured before the assailant committed suicide. One of the victims later died at the hospital due to injuries sustained in the shooting. Additional details, such as the suspect’s motive, remain unknown. Police officers have cordoned off the area while they conduct an investigation.
United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 2): On 24 January 2022, officials with the Defense Ministry announced that the country’s air defenses intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles fired at the capital Abu Dhabi. Portions of the missiles fell in different areas across the capital after the interception, but there were no reports of casualties or damage. A spokesperson for the Houthi militant group in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the Houthis had targeted al-Dhafra Air Base (OMAM/DHF) on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, which also houses U.S. military forces. The UAE military retaliated by striking the suspected missile launch site in Yemen. In a previous occurrence on 17 January, a Houthi drone attack caused three fuel tankers to explode at the Mussafah Fuel Depot in Abu Dhabi, killing three people and injuring six more.
Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso have reportedly detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore at a military camp, following heavy gunfire near the presidential palace in the capital Ouagadougou overnight on 23-24 January 2022. Local sources suggest that five members of the president’s security detail were wounded in the gunbattle. Military personnel were present at the state television headquarters in the city, and mobile internet services have been disrupted. The president’s detention follows heavy gunfire at military barracks in Ouagadougou and elsewhere in the country since the morning hours of 23 January. Shots were reported near the Guillaume and Sangoulé Lamizana military camps, located west of Ouagadougou, as well as in the northern cities Kaya and Ouahigoyua. In response, the government decreed a countrywide nightly curfew during 2000-0530 local time/UTC. Government officials denied claims of a potential military takeover, stating that the situation was under control.
The latest developments follow anti-government demonstrations in Ouagadougou on 22 January against deteriorating security conditions nationwide and increasing jihadist violence, especially in the northern part of the country. Police officers fired tear gas at demonstrators, who demanded better working conditions for soldiers fighting against militant Islamist groups. The headquarters of the ruling People’s Movement for Progress party was also set ablaze during the demonstration. Authorities announced on 12 January that 10 military personnel and five civilians were arrested in relation to a plot to overthrow the government. Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana and his accomplices were taken into custody for the alleged plan to stage a coup. President Kabore had dismissed Zoungrana from his post in December 2021, following an attack the previous month on a military base in the northern town of Inata in Soum province. Kabore dismissed several other senior military and government officials after the attack, which caused public outrage in the country and prompted demands for Kabore’s resignation.
Cameroon (Security threat level – 4): Early in the morning of 23 January 2022, a large fire broke out at Liv’s Night Club in the upscale Bastos district in northern Yaoundé, the capital. According to a local government official, the fire spread to a neighboring building that stored cooking oil, causing several explosions that were heard throughout the area. Approximately 16 people were killed, and at least five others suffered various injuries. Authorities stated that the fire was started by fireworks ignited inside the club while drinks were being served.
Greece (Security threat level – 2): On 24 January 2022, the U.S. Mission in Greece issued a Weather Alert, which reads in part as follows: “According to the Hellenic National Meteorological Service, dangerous weather conditions are expected through Wednesday, January 26, 2022. In many regions throughout Greece, frigid conditions and heavy snowfall are expected through Wednesday, January 26, 2022. The Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection has issued a recommendation to exercise caution and avoid any unnecessary travel in the next 48 hours.
“The U.S. Embassy in Athens will be closed Monday, January 24, 2022 due to the inclement weather.”
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 21 January 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security/Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy has received reports that members of the Guatemalan Transportation Association are planning to stage a protest against government policies by establishing roadblocks at various locations throughout the country. The roadblocks are planned to begin on Monday, January 24 at 6:00 a.m., and demonstrators intend to block traffic until the Government drops the requirement for them to purchase insurance. At this time, the specific roadblock locations are unknown, but they have the potential to affect travel in Guatemala City and throughout the country.
“As always, the timing, size, and duration of planned demonstrations and roadblocks can change. Demonstrations can quickly grow in size and often move from one location to another, thus potentially disrupting movement. The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens be aware and vigilant.”
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 23 January 2022, the U.S. Department of State released an updated advisory for U.S. citizens in Ukraine, stating: “On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees (USDH) and ordered the departure of eligible family members (EFM) from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options.
“There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine. The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv.
“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine would severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens in departing Ukraine.”
Additional information from the advisory is available here.