NORTH AMERICA Cuba / United States (Security threat levels –...
Haiti / United States (Security threat levels – 5 / 2): On 4 January 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice charged a Colombian national with “conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the U.S.” for his involvement in the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. U.S. authorities arrested the individual at an airport in Panama. The man was one of 22 Colombian nationals suspected of involvement in the operation; Haitian police killed three of the suspects and arrested 18, according to Haitian and U.S. authorities.
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 4 January 2022, the government of Montserrat imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, which will remain in effect until 18 January. Under the measures, a nighty curfew is in effect from 2000 to 0500 local time (0000-0900 UTC), during which time individuals are required to remain at home.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 5 January 2022, Hong Kong authorities announced a temporary travel ban on all flights from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United States during 9-21 January due to reports of several cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 being discovered in Hong Kong, which is pursuing a “COVID Zero” policy with the intention of eliminating all traces of the virus within its borders. All of the countries included in the flight ban have experienced recent spikes in COVID-19 infections. Authorities imposed the ban after several omicron cases were traced back to passengers and staff on board a Cathay Pacific flight who reportedly did not adhere to quarantine guidelines. Additionally, authorities have imposed tighter coronavirus-related restrictions. Restaurant dining will only be allowed until 1800 local time (1000 UTC); entertainment facilities and nonessential businesses are to remain closed during the two-week period.
Kazakhstan (Security threat level – 3): On 5 January 2022, Cabinet officials resigned after days of increasingly violent and growing protests against government corruption, low wages, high unemployment and the removal of price caps for liquefied petroleum gas. After accepting the resignations, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appointed Alikhan Smailov — who was serving as first deputy prime minister — as acting prime minister. Government officials are expected to assume caretaker roles until a new government is appointed. President Tokayev also removed former President Nursultan Nazarbayev from his post as chairman of the country’s security council, appointing himself in Nazarbayev’s place. Internet and television outages are being reported across the country.
The latest reports indicate that protesters have entered Almaty International Airport (UAAA/ALA), prompting passengers and staff members to flee the facilty. Protests initially began in the western Mangistau region on 2 January over a significant increase in prices for liquefied petroleum gas — which is widely used to fuel vehicles in Kazakhstan — prompted by the government lifting price caps. Protests have spread to Almaty, Aktau, Aqtobe, Shymkent, Nursultan, and Oral. In response, President Tokayev reinstituted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas and promised to institute subsidies on other items. Authorities have detained at least 200 people since the protests began, and at least 145 people have been injured.
Also on 5 January, President Tokayev invoked a state of emergency during 5-19 January in the capital Nur-Sultan amid local violent protests. The declaration came in response to violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces during the afternoon. Authorities in the area reportedly deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades to disperse crowds of protesters, who set fire to nearby vehicles and buildings. The previous day Tokayev had imposed a similar state of emergency in Almaty — the country’s largest city — and western Mangistau province. The state of emergency included a nightly local curfew from 2300 to 0700 local time (1700-0100 UTC) as well as restrictions on entry and exit to Almaty. Public gatherings — including protests — are prohibited during the state of emergency. Security personnel may also conduct random checks of identity documents.
On 4-5 January, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Almaty. Demonstrators on 5 January reportedly broke through police barriers on the Tole bi and Baitursnov intersection near central Almaty and set fire to nearby police cars and trees. Protesters also stormed the Almaty mayor’s office. A fire was reported in the building, but it remains unknown if the protesters caused the fire. Police officers in the area fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades at the crowds. Overnight on 4-5 January, security personnel deployed tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators in Republic Square, who responded by damaging police vehicles and throwing objects at police officers.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 5 January 2022, at least four Katyusha rockets were launched toward the U.S. Victory military base at Baghdad International Airport (ORBI/BGW) from the Al-Jihad neighborhood in western Baghdad. The rockets reportedly hit the airport’s runway near the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center. The attack follows previous events marking the second anniversary of Iranian military Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s death; however, authorities have not yet confirmed a motive for the attack. There have been no reports of fatalities or disruptions following the event.
Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 5 January 2022, Kenya’s National Security Council imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the southeastern Lamu county, located near the country’s border with Somalia. The curfew — scheduled for the next 30 days — will be enforced in select areas of the Witu, Mukunumbi, Mpeketoni and Hindi divisions in Lamu West sub-county that have been designated as “disturbed areas.” The curfew order follows an attack in the Widhu-Majembani area early on 3 January, which killed at least six people. Kenya’s police chief stated that the attack may be linked to local land disputes, although the county commissioner had initially blamed suspected al-Shabab militants for carrying out the attack.
Angola (Security threat level – 3): On 4 January 2022, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Angola, which reads in part as follows: “Angola has closed its borders to all foreign nationals, except those with resident and/or work permits. This restriction is due to be reviewed on 15 January 2022.”