Worldview Security Report – April 3, 2019
3-Apr-19

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 3 April 2019, Eurostar lifted its warning to passengers to “avoid all but essential travel,” as French customs workers halted a work-to-rule industrial action that had been ongoing since 4 March. Thus far, following the cancellation of two trains from Paris to London, all other trains have departed on schedule. A spokesman for the customs workers’ union has warned that workers could launch additional sporadic strikes, which could disrupt future travel, as their demands for greater pay and greater resources ahead of Brexit have not been met; however, the union has not specified any dates for such further actions.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 2 April 2019, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in the wake of large-scale protests and increasing pressure from the military to step down. Under the terms of Algeria’s Constitution, the speaker of the upper house of Algeria’s parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, will serve as acting president until government officials organize new elections. Bouteflika’s official successor, however, has not yet been announced. Algeria’s Constitutional Council will meet on 3 April to formally determine an interim replacement.

In response to Bouteflika’s announcement, demonstrators gathered in downtown Algiers to celebrate. However, some of the attendees stated that Bouteflika’s resignation was not sufficient to satisfy their demands, which include dealing with corruption and a transition to democracy. There were no reports of violence.

Analyst Comment: Bouteflika has served as Algeria’s president since 1999, and his resignation marks the beginning of a new era of uncertainty in the country. Anti-government protests and celebratory gatherings may continue following Bouteflika’s ouster and travelers should monitor developments closely. Additionally, travelers should plan for increased military and security force activity throughout the country — particularly in the capital Algiers — in the coming days, as the government seeks to stabilize the situation. Individuals visiting or currently residing in Algeria should adhere to the directions of local officials and closely monitor local news reports. In addition, those in Algeria should avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations, as even seemingly peaceful gatherings can quickly turn violent.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Morocco (Security threat level – 3): On 2 April 2019, the U.S. Department of State raised its Travel Advisory Level for Morocco to a Level 2 from a Level 1, citing an increased terrorism threat. The update reads in part as follows:

  • “Exercise increased caution in Morocco due to terrorism. Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Morocco. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.”
  • Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 3 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice to read in part as follows:

  • “From 1 April 2019, Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport (VNKT/KTM) will be closed from 10pm to 8am daily for runway maintenance work. It’s expected that this closure will be for a period of 3 months. During this time, flight schedules are likely to be changed. For more information, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. ”

  • 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.