Worldview Security Report – April 11, 2019
11-Apr-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1000 local time (1400 UTC) on 10 April 2019, a gas leak caused an explosion at a building near the Brightleaf Square shopping district, located in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The explosion, accompanied by a subsequent fire, collapsed the building and damaged other nearby buildings, the occupants of which had to be evacuated. The blast was felt as far away as the premises of Duke University, which is situated nearly 1 mi (2 km) away from the site. At least one person was killed and 17 others were injured in the explosion. Authorities stated that the blast occurred after workers ruptured a 2-inch (5-cm) gas pipeline under a sidewalk while conducting construction work.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 11 April 2019, a late winter storm is affecting several states in the central U.S. The storm has produced heavy snowfall and high winds from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains and the U.S. Upper Midwest. Blizzard warnings were issued for areas in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Several airports throughout the affected areas, such as Denver, canceled or delayed flights. Hazardous road conditions and road closures have also been reported. For instance, several main interstate highways remain closed in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Additionally, tens of thousands of commercial customers were left without power due to the storm. Severe weather conditions and associated disruptions are expected through the remainder of the day on 11 April; the storm is expected to weaken by 12 April as it continues to track over the Great Lakes region.

ASIA

India / Singapore (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): According to reports from 11 April 2019, Indian carrier Jet Airways has suspended all flights to and from Singapore’s Changi Airport (WSSS/SIN) until further notice. The airline currently operates 14 aircraft. Under Indian civil aviation policy, commercial airlines are only able to fly internationally if they have at least 20 aircraft in service. It remains unknown if authorities will review Jet Airways’ eligibility to fly international routes as it attempts to revive itself with assistance from the State Bank of India.

EUROPE

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 10 April 2019, the airport security workers’ union Autonomous Trade Union of Madrid (ATES-SAM) confirmed plans to launch an indefinite strike at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (LEMD/MAD) beginning on 12 April. The strike is to demand better wages and benefits for employees, among other grievances. Airport officials warned that significant disruptions to security checks are expected and advised passengers to arrive at the airport “well in advance” of their departure time.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): Early on 11 April 2019, “Total Shutdown” protesters burned tires and erected barricades throughout Pretoria, resulting in traffic disruptions. The road closures reportedly cut off access to the Mokopane and Shoshanguve suburbs. Participants also held a large gathering in the vicinity of Church Square. The “Total Shutdown” movement seeks to draw attention to insufficient electricity, education and housing services and corruption in the city. The movement has held similar actions in Alexandra and Johannesburg in recent weeks.

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 11 April 2019, President Omar al-Bashir stepped down amid ongoing anti-government protests calling for his resignation. Reports indicate that al-Bashir is under house arrest at the presidential palace in central Khartoum and security forces have raided the headquarters of the ruling Islamic Movement party. Other senior government officials have also been detained. Following the arrest, the defense minster confirmed al-Bashir’s ouster and announced that his government has been dissolved. The defense minister further stated that a military committee that will oversee a two-year transitional period to amend the constitution has been established.

Military personnel have been deployed to key areas of the capital, including major roads and bridges. Sudanese military officials announced a nightly curfew from 2200 to 0400 local time (2000 to 0200 UTC) throughout the country for three months, along with a three-month state of emergency. The state of emergency provides security forces with expanded powers, including the ability to search buildings, restrict movement, arrest individuals, seize assets and ban unlicensed public gatherings. Operations at Khartoum International Airport (HSSS/KRT) have been suspended for 24 hours and all border crossings are closed until further notice.

Demonstrations continued across the capital, with protesters celebrating the resignation of al-Bashir. Thousands of demonstrators are currently staging a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, as well as marches. Meanwhile, the primary opposition group, known as the Sudanese Professionals Association, issued a statement rejecting the transitional period and called on protesters to continue demonstrations.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bahrain (Security threat level – 3): On 10 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Bahrain, which reads in part as follows:

  • “There have been calls for unauthorised protests between 11 to 18 April You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
  • Eswatini (Security threat level – 3): On 10 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Mbabane issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Manzini
  • “Event: Beginning at 9:00 AM on Friday, April 12, 2019, the Swazi Democratic Party (SWADEPA) and other groups are planning a march through Manzini City Center, from Somhlolo Jubilee Park to Manzini Bus Rank. U.S. Embassy personnel have been advised to avoid areas of demonstrations and to exercise caution if in the area of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”
  • Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 11 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “There has been an increase in the level of reported crime against both expatriates and nationals in the Bole and Yeka hills areas of Addis Ababa. These have included robberies at knife point and the choking unconscious of victims by their attackers. You should familiarise yourself with the geography if travelling in these areas and exercise caution. If threatened, hand over your valuables without resistance. Don’t travel alone in these areas if possible.”
  • Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 10 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued an alert regarding upcoming elections, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Indonesia
  • “Event: On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold nationwide general elections, including for the presidency and regional and national legislatures. Political rallies and other campaign events may increase in size and frequency. In general, political gatherings are announced in advance but actual crowd sizes are difficult to predict. Large rallies may lead to road closures and other traffic disruptions.”

  • Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.