AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 23 February 2019, a Boeing 767 cargo aircraft operated by Atlas Air crashed into Trinity Bay near the city of Anahuac, Texas. The aircraft had been traveling from Miami International Airport (KMIA/MIA) to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH/IAH) at the time of the crash. All three people on board the aircraft were killed. The cause of the crash remains unknown.
Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 23 February 2019, Venezuelan security forces clashed with opposition supporters who were attempting to help bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela at the country’s borders with Brazil and Colombia. Clashes were reported in the Venezuelan town of Santa Elena de Uairén and in the Venezuelan village of Kumarakapay on the Brazil-Venezuela border, as well as in the Venezuelan town of Ureña on the Colombian-Venezuelan border. Security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live bullets at protesters. At least two people were killed and 300 people were injured in the clashes. No humanitarian aid was brought into the country.
Following the violence, opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced that he would be traveling to Bogotá, Colombia, to attend the Lima Group meeting on 25 February. He stated that he would ask that the international community keep “all options open” in the effort to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power. Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — who is also expected to attend the Lima Group meeting — is reportedly planning to announce new sanctions against Venezuela. The U.S. had threatened to impose new sanctions if violence at the border occurred or if Venezuelan soldiers prevented humanitarian aid from entering the country.
Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1740 local time (1140 UTC) on 24 February 2019, Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG147 made an emergency landing at Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport (VGEG/CGP) after a man armed with a pistol threatened to blow up the aircraft and attempted to enter the cockpit. Upon arrival, Bangladeshi security forces surrounded the aircraft on the tarmac and all 134 passengers and 14 crew members were safely evacuated. The hijacker was shot and killed when security forces stormed the aircraft at approximately 1920 local time. The assailant was later found to be carrying a toy pistol and had no explosives. Officials later announced that the suspect cited his marital troubles as the motive for the attempted hijacking.
Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): As of 25 February 2019, authorities have closed the train station in the town of Dong Dang, which is located along the border with China, ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jon Un’s expected arrival on 26 February. Upon arrival at Dong Dang, Kim will travel approximately 170 km (105 mi) by motorcade to Hanoi, where he will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on 27-28 February. The entire route of the motorcade will be closed to all traffic from 0600 to 1400 local time on 26 February (2300 UTC on 25 February) to 0700 UTC on 26 February.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 23 February 2019, “yellow vest” protests continued in France for the 15th consecutive weekend. According to the interior minister, approximately 46,600 people participated in the protests nationwide, including 5,800 in Paris, where at least five separate demonstrations occurred. Although the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, police officers and protesters in Paris clashed at the Place du Trocadero, located across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower. At least two people were injured in the scuffle. At least 28 people were arrested in Paris.
Meanwhile, in Rennes, police officers arrested another 18 people following a scuffle in which six police officers and six protesters were injured. In Clermont-Ferrand, approximately 2,500 people participated in a protest that ended with clashes between police officers and protesters. Authorities arrested 18 people and seized several potentially dangerous objects, including baseball bats, crowbars and gas pistols. In Nantes and Montpellier, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators; there were no reports of arrests or injuries in Nantes or Montpellier.
Spain (Security threat level – 3): As of 25 February 2019, metro workers in Barcelona are implementing several partial strikes coinciding with the Mobile World Congress 2019, the largest mobile industry event in the world. The strikes are set to take place from 0700 to 0900 local time (0600 to 0800 UTC), from 1600 to 1800 local time and from 2200 until the end of service beginning on 25 February and through 28 February. Thus far on 25 February, authorities have taken steps to control access to certain metro stations, including La Sagrera and Sagrada Família, after overcrowding was reported on several metro lines. Spanish law mandates that a minimum of 50 percent of services must be provided during the first two partial strikes, while at least 30 percent of services must be provided during the last strike segment.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): Overnight on 24-25 February 2019, armed assailants set fire to an Ebola treatment center in Katwa, an epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in Butembo, North Kivu province. The 10 patients in the center — including four with confirmed cases of Ebola — were safely evacuated; however, a nurse was killed when she fell into a ravine as she fled the attack. While some authorities suspect the attack may have been criminally motivated, the mayor of Butembo blames Mai Mai militiamen for the attack. Several attacks have targeted Ebola treatment centers and teams in recent months due to community distrust of Ebola treatment teams.
Mozambique (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 22 February 2019, suspected Islamist extremists conducted a series of attacks on vehicles carrying contractors affiliated with U.S.-based oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum Corp in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province on 21 February. The attacks took place on the road between the town of Mocimboa da Praia and the company’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) project-construction site in Afungi. At least one person was killed and six others were injured in the attacks.
Analyst Comment: Although extremists have been carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado province since October 2017, this is the first set of coordinated attacks against an oil and gas company in the region. This significant change in tactics may signal an increased likelihood for similar coordinated attacks on oil and gas companies to occur in Cabo Delgado in the future.
Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): On 25 February 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Jamaica, which reads in part as follows:
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.