Worldview Security Report – December 12, 2018
12-Dec-18

AMERICAS

Brazil (Security threat level – 3) : Shortly after 1200 local time (1400 UTC) on 11 December 2018, a gunman opened fire inside the Metropolitan Cathedral in the city of Campinas, located approximately 100 km (60 mi) northwest of Sao Paulo. The attack occurred immediately following a Midday Mass. At least four people were killed and four others injured in the attack. Police officers who were stationed at a square near the facility responded to the incident, shooting and wounding the assailant, after which the assailant committed suicide. None of the victims were related to the assailant. Police officers believe the assailant had mental health issues.

ASIA

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 11-12 December 2018, clashes between rival political groups and police officers occurred at political rallies in at least seven major towns across Bangladesh as the country held its second day of campaigning ahead of the 30 December elections. Clashes were reported in the cities of Thakurgaon, Kabirhat and Faridganj, as well as in the Noakhali and Faridpur districts which encompass a number of smaller towns. Rival political groups armed with sticks threw stones at each other, and police officers used pellet guns, rubber bullets and batons to disperse the crowds. At least two people were killed and more than 100 injured nationwide. Political violence is common in Bangladesh prior to elections.

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 12 December 2018, Tropical Cyclone Owen was located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, approximately 700 km (435 mi) east-southeast of the city of Darwin in Australia. At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 93 kph (58 mph). The storm is expected to remain within the Gulf of Carpentaria until at least 14 December before tracking southeast through Queensland state. Owen is expected to intensify and bring heavy rains to the state, prompting authorities to issue flood watches.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): As of 12 December 2018, there is a heightened security presence in Strasbourg as authorities investigate the Christmas market shooting that left three people dead and 13 others injured on 11 December. Hundreds of police officers are working to apprehend the assailant, who remains at large. France has strengthened border controls and raised its security threat to the highest level. Authorities have also stepped up security at all Christmas markets nationwide “to prevent copycat attacks.” Meanwhile, authorities in Germany have also stepped up border controls with France, but have not changed the country’s security threat level or increased security at its Christmas markets. The assailant, who has been identified, was known to French security forces as a potential terrorist threat and reportedly spent time in prison for robbery. German authorities have stated that they have no information on the suspected attackers’ links to Islamic extremism. While France has stated that the attack was an act of terrorism, no group has claimed responsibility.

Georgia (Security threat level – 3): As of 11 December 2018, protesters continued to gather outside the Justice House in Tbilisi to protest a decision by the Georgian Constitutional Court to temporarily allow the sale of agricultural lands to foreigners. The protesters included opposition members and members of nationalist groups. The demonstrators blocked people of foreign appearance from entering the building in order to prevent them from registering for land sales in Georgia. The Interior Ministry is now investigating the rally as a potential criminal case of ethnic discrimination. The demonstration is likely to continue through 16 December, when the president-elect will be inaugurated and a new constitution once again prohibiting the sale of lands to foreign entities will take effect.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 12 December 2018, lawmakers from Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party triggered a vote of no confidence in her leadership amid growing tension over Brexit, Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The House of Commons will hold the ballot between 1800 and 2000 local/UTC time and the result will be announced shortly thereafter. Prime Minister May will be removed from power if 158 of her party’s 315 lawmakers do not support her in the ballot. However, if she wins, she cannot be challenged as Conservative leader for at least another year. Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) called for the vote of confidence due to disagreements over May’s proposed Brexit deal. The key issue with May’s deal is a disagreement over the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which critics say will tie the U.K. to the EU indefinitely.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 12 December 2018, violence was reported at election campaign events for opposition candidate Martin Fayulu for the third time in four days. The latest incident occurred in Kalemie, located in Tanganyika province, when dozens of supporters of the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) blocked Fayulu’s motorcade as it traveled from Kalemie Airport (FZRF/FMI) to the city center for a political rally. Security forces reportedly fired shots to disperse the crowd; reports indicate that at least one person was killed and two others were injured in the violence. Fayulu proceeded to Benda stadium in the city center via an alternate route prior to returning to the airport. The previous day, security personnel in Lubumbashi — the capital of the southeastern Haut Katanga province — clashed with Fayulu’s supporters. The clashes occurred outside Lubumbashi International Airport (FZQA/FBM) when security forces blocked Fayulu supporters from accompanying him to a rally. The opposition claimed that six people were killed and several others were injured, and medical sources alleged that individuals suffered gunshot wounds; authorities denied that police officers fired live ammunition. In a previous incident on 9 December, violence broke out in Kindu — the capital of Maniema province — ahead of Fayulu’s planned arrival in Kindu Airport (FZOA/KND). Incidents were reported at multiple locations in the city, including at the airport. At least eight people were reportedly injured in the violence in Kindu and Fayulu’s landing was aborted.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 11 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued a Health Alert regarding Lassa fever that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Department of Borgou, near Parakou
  • “Event: The Ministry of Health in Benin confirmed two cases of Lassa fever with other cases suspected. Lassa fever is a rare but potentially life-threatening viral hemorrhagic disease.
  • “Actions to Take:
    Consult a medical professional if you have been in direct contact with an infected person within the past three weeks and have symptoms of Lassa fever which include: fever, chest, stomach or back pain, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, or mucosal bleeding (i.e. from the eyes, gums, nose, or intestinal tract).”

  • Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 12 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to advise against non-essential travel to the DRC, except for areas to which the FCO previously counseled against all travel to. The updated travel advisory reads in part as follows:

  • “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
    the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï Central, Kasaï Oriental, Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu (except the city of Goma – see below), South Kivu (except the city of Bukavu – see below), Maniema and Tanganyika in eastern DRC areas to the west and east of Kananga, including Tshikapa and Mwene-Ditu (as shown on the map [on the U.K. FCO’s travel advisory])
    within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
  • “The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of the DRC, including the capital city, Kinshasa.
  • “If you’re currently in the DRC and your continued presence is not essential, you should consider leaving the country by commercial means before 17 December.”

  • Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 11 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: North Kivu and Ituri Provinces
  • “Event: On August 1, 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo reported an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in North Kivu Province. Since then, a significant number of both confirmed and probable cases have been reported in nine health zones of Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces.
  • “The CDC has issued a Level 2 Travel Notice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • “Ebola is one of the hemorrhagic fever illnesses. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, and handling or washing of infected corpses or through contact with objects that have been in contact with infected secretions.”

  • Rwanda (Security threat level – 3): On 12 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kigali issued a Health Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Rwanda
  • “Event: On August 1, 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo reported an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in North Kivu Province. Since then, a significant number of both confirmed and probable cases have been reported in multiple health zones of Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces.
  • “The CDC has issued a Level 2 Travel Notice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • “Ebola is one of the hemorrhagic fever illnesses. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, and handling or washing of infected corpses or through contact with objects that have been in contact with infected secretions.”

  • Uganda (Security threat level – 4): On 11 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Uganda, countrywide
  • “Event: The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of robberies, burglaries, and assaults. The holiday season is historically associated with an increase in criminal activity, and expatriates in particular are attractive targets for criminals. Extremists also continue to focus on locations frequented by Westerners.”