AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0630 local time (1230 UTC) on 23 March 2021, the general director of civil aviation announced that flight operations at Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport (MGGT/GUA) have been suspended due to ashfall from the Pacaya Volcano, located nearly 40 km (25 mi) southwest of the airport. A shift in wind direction transported ash particles toward the airport, where they have covered the facility’s only runway. Ashfall has also been reported in the city of Villa Nueva and in the towns of El Pepinal, San Francisco de Sales, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Mesillas Altas, Besillas Bajas, and Santa Elena Barillas. The Pacaya Volcano has been experiencing increased activity since mid-February.
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the afternoon of 22 March 2021, members of the Fantom 509 gang — composed of renegade police officers — opened fire on active-duty police officers in the Delmas 32 neighborhood of the capital Port-au-Prince. At least one on-duty police officer was killed and another was critically wounded. Fantom 509 members also looted an international vehicle dealership and stole multiple vehicles and motorcycles before a rival gang drove them away. The Fantom 509 group has increasingly perpetrated violent acts in the capital since 15 March, demanding that authorities retrieve the bodies of five of their colleagues held by gang members in the Village of God informal settlement.
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1430 local time (2030 UTC) on 22 March 2021, a gunman opened fire inside a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, a city located nearly 30 mi (50 km) northwest of Denver, the state capital. Hundreds of law enforcement officers arrived at the King Soopers supermarket, situated in a busy shopping plaza, following reports of an active shooter and advised individuals to avoid the area. A total of 10 people were killed in the event, including the police officer who initially arrived at the scene. Authorities arrested the suspected assailant, who suffered non-fatal wounds and remains in police custody. Local, state and federal officials have launched a probe to determine a possible motive for the shooting.
Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the extension of ongoing nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions until 18 April in a continued effort to control the surge of COVID-19 infections. Merkel also announced a strict lockdown during the Easter holiday from 1-5 April. During the Easter holiday, most shops will be required to close, while grocery stores will be permitted to open only on 3 April. All public gatherings will be banned and no more than five adults from two households will be permitted to gather at a time. Additionally, German nationals and residents who travel abroad during this period will be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to returning to Germany.
Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 21 March 2021, dozens of unidentified militants riding motorcycles attacked at least three villages and an unspecified number of nomadic camps in the Tahoua region, which is located near the Niger-Mali border. According to the Nigerien government, at least 137 civilians were killed – marking this occurrence as the largest massacre by suspected jihadists in Niger to date. The casualty count may rise with the emergence of additional information, which is slow to appear due to the isolated nature of the area as well as poor telecommunications infrastructure. While no group has thus far claimed responsibility for the attacks, security sources allege that the militants were Islamic State fighters.
Analyst Comment: Such attacks have increased in frequency in western and southwestern Niger in recent months, particularly in the weeks surrounding the election of President Mohamed Bazoum in February 2021.
Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 22 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued a Health Alert regarding the nationwide nightly curfew, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Honduras has extended the national curfew from March 22, 2021 until March 28, 2021 from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. During the week, shopping and essential activities will be allowed daily from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. without regard to identification number, in all departments.
“Businesses are only allowed to have 50% capacity.
“Bars, nightclubs, gyms, sports complexes, convention centers, theaters, and educational centers are prohibited from operation. Meetings in private homes may not exceed 10 people, unless previously authorized by Sinager.
“The only people who are allowed to circulate outside of the curfew are people conducting the following activities: security; health; emergency; public transportation for humanitarian reasons and contracted by businesses that are within the exceptions to mobilize their workers; transport of heavy cargo; energy; telecommunications; internet; media; hotels; Honduran and foreign nationals that arrive in the country on night flights, providing a ticket with their final destination; agrochemical and agriculture sector; technical and administrative support personnel from the banking system; those needed to guarantee the production and distribution of food; machine industry, markets, supermarkets; gas stations; drug stores; pharmacies; and biosecurity products, that work shifts seven days of the week and at night.”
Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Jamaica regarding the coronavirus-related curfew, which reads in part as follows: “There is an island wide curfew from 8pm to 5am and with extended hours for weekends and public holidays.
“The curfew hours are:
Kuwait (Security threat level – 2): On 23 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On March 22, the government of Kuwait announced changes to curfew restrictions and entry requirements.
“Starting March 23, curfew will begin one hour later. Curfew will be in effect from 6:00 PM to 5:00 AM daily until April 8. U.S. citizens should observe the restrictions announced by the Kuwaiti government during the curfew period. “There is a new period for walking outdoors in one’s neighborhood from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Restaurants may now deliver until 10:00 PM.
“Entry to Kuwait for non-Kuwaiti citizens remains suspended until further notice. There are exceptions available for first-degree relatives of Kuwaiti citizens and domestic employees traveling with them. Details on this and other possible exceptions can be found at corona.e.gov.kw/en. A valid visa or residency is required for entry. “Passengers who are permitted to arrive in Kuwait must still undergo seven (7) days of institutional quarantine upon arrival at a hotel in Kuwait, at their own expense, and seven (7) days of home quarantine after a negative PCR test on day six. Passengers in the below categories are now excluded from the institutional quarantine requirement and are instead subject to a 7-day home quarantine with a PCR test on the seventh day. Those who:
Madagascar (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Madagascar regarding coronavirus-related flight restrictions, which reads in part as follow: “Tourist flights to/from the island of Nosy Be had restarted on 1 October 2020, but international flights to/from Nosy Be are again temporarily suspended from 27 March, and domestic routes between Nosy Be and the mainland of Madagascar are suspended from 23 March.”
Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 22 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Public Transportation Union and the Association of Markets have announced a plan to observe a 72-hour nationwide strike effective at midnight tonight, March 22-23. The strike is a call for measures to address living expenses, a new toll road system, the allocation of land titles, and the freedom of movement of people and goods within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“Tensions may occur between transporters on strike and others refusing to stop working, which may result in violence. Additionally, traffic may be disrupted.”
The full text of the alert can be read here.