Worldview Security Report – January 28, 2019
28-Jan-19

AMERICAS

Cuba (Security threat level – 2) : Late on 27 January 2019, a powerful tornado struck eastern Havana. The tornado caused significant damage, particularly in the neighborhoods of 10 de Octubre and Regla, as well as in the southeastern suburb of San Miguel de Padron. The tornado damaged residences and vehicles, downed utility poles and resulted in power outages in several neighborhoods across the city. As of the latest reports, emergency crews were working to restore electricity supply. At least three people were killed and 174 others were injured due to the inclement weather.

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 27 January 2019, thousands of people took to the streets across Honduras to protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez. Police officers fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who used burning tires to block highways north and south of the capital Tegucigalpa. There were reports that police officers assaulted some of the protesters; however, information regarding injuries is not available. The opposition organized the demonstrations to mark the one year anniversary of Hernandez’s inauguration for a second term in office. Hernandez ran for a second term after the Supreme Court lifted a constitutional ban on presidential re-election and won by a narrow margin of 1.53 percentage points in a controversial election.

Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 27 January 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for new protests to be held on 30 January and 2 February. For the 30 January protests, the opposition has called on supporters to take to the streets at midday for peaceful two-hour demonstrations across Venezuela. For the2 February, Guaidó has called for demonstrations to be held both within Venezuela and around the world. The 2 February protests have been organized to coincide with a European Union deadline for President Nicolas Maduro to call for new elections.

Maduro has continued to reject an international ultimatum that he hold “fair, free and transparent elections” within eight days, claiming that “no one can give [Venezuela] an ultimatum.” However, he has stated that he is open to dialogue and that a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump was “improbable but not impossible.” His statements come after Venezuelan government suspended its order that U.S. diplomats leave Venezuela. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has now stated that it is negotiating the establishment of a U.S. Interests Office in Venezuela and will allow U.S. Embassy personnel to remain in the country while talks take place. If no agreement is reached within 30 days, U.S. Embassy personnel will once again have to leave the country. The U.S. Department of State has not responded to the reports, but only stated that it has no plans to close its embassy in Caracas.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 27 January 2019, two bombs detonated at a Catholic church located in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province. According to officials, the first blast occurred inside the church during Sunday Mass, while the second occurred minutes later at the main entrance to the church as government forces were responding to the incident. Preliminary reports indicate that the second explosive device may have been attached to a parked motorcycle. At least 20 people were killed, while 111 others were injured. The Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for the attack. Several Western governments maintain warnings in which they advise against all travel to Sulu province — where Jolo Island is located — due to the threat of terrorism and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

Thailand (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 28 January 2019, a 200 m (219 yd) section of the runway at Don Mueang International Airport (VTBD/DMK) will be closed for scheduled maintenance between 29 January and 1 February. During this period, the runway will only be used for departures, and authorities have warned that possible delays of between 30 and 45 minutes could occur during peak hours.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 26 January 2019, thousands of people participated in the 11th weekend of “yellow vest” protests across France. Interior Ministry officials stated that approximately 69,000 people protested across the country, with around 4,000 people protesting in Paris. Clashes occurred at the Place de la Bastille, where protesters reportedly set fire to police barricades and threw paving stones at officers, who responded by firing water cannons and tear gas. In the evening, police officers used stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who had gathered for a demonstration at the Place de la République. At least 223 people were arrested in Paris and several people were injured.

Elsewhere in France, violence was reported in Bordeaux, Evreux, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse. In Evreux, approximately 500 protesters set fire to four vehicles and several garbage cans and detonated firecrackers near a police station; police officers responded by firing tear gas. It remains unknown how many people were arrested or injured in clashes across France.

Subsequently on 27 January, thousands of people took the streets in France to demonstrate for a variety of causes. In Paris, approximately 10,500 people participated in a demonstration to condemn the violence that has occurred at yellow vest protests since mid-November. The protest, organized by the “red scarves” and “blue vests” movements, began at the Place de la Republique and ended at the Place de la Bastille. Separately, approximately 80,000 people participated in more than 100 demonstrations across France to call for action against climate change. There were no reports of violence at any of these protests.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 28 January 2019, taxi drivers in Madrid went on strike for an eighth consecutive day to call for stricter regulations on ride-sharing services. Riot police officers used construction equipment to clear vehicles that were blocking traffic on Paseo de la Castellana, a main thoroughfare in the city. A protest is scheduled to occur at Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square at 1700 local time (1600 UTC). Taxi drivers from Seville have traveled to Madrid to join the protests and drivers from other cities are considering coming to Madrid as well. Thus far, there have been no reports of significant violence in Madrid, although four people have been arrested.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Cameroon (Security threat level – 4): On 26 January 2019, dozens of people took to the streets in Douala to protest against the delay in elections and violence in the Anglophone regions. Anti-riot police officers used live fire to disperse the protesters, injuring at least four people. Police officers also arrested at least 117 people.

In response to the violence, on 27 January, approximately 50 protesters broke into the Cameroon Embassy in Paris as part of a protest against President Paul Biya’s crackdown on opposition in Cameroon. Police officers forced the protesters out of the building two hours after they broke in and the protesters then held a demonstration outside of the embassy. The protesters did not cause any significant damage at the embassy and there were no reports of injuries.

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1900 local time (1600 UTC) on 26 January 2019, an improvised explosive device detonated outside a cinema at the Tom Mboya and Latema Road intersection in downtown Nairobi. Police officers believe that the device had been placed inside a small piece of luggage that was handed to a handcart pusher. The person who handed off the piece of luggage reportedly fled the scene before the explosion occurred. Two people were injured in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion. The attack occurred 11 days after extremist group al-Shabab carried out an attack on the Dusit D2 hotel and shopping complex in Nairobi on 15 January.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 28 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Locations: Between the Carrefour Aeroport and Delmas 2
  • “Events: RSO has received reports that there are roadblocks restricting movement between the Carrefour Aeroport and Delmas 2.”


  • Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 25 January 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office

    (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Mali, which reads in part as follows:

  • “There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack in Bamako. You should be aware that hotels and restaurants that are used by westerners may be targeted. You should remain vigilant when travelling to Bamako and while in your hotel or visiting restaurants.”

  • Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 27 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Each city in metropolitan Khartoum (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) and in other cities and locations across Sudan
  • .

  • “Event: Demonstrations have been called for the following times: TODAY, January 27, 2019, the Sudanese Professionals Association is calling for sit-ins at multiple locations in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North, beginning at 3:00 p.m.
  • “TUESDAY, January 29, 2019, the Sudanese Professionals Association is calling for evening demonstrations in Khartoum and other major cities in Sudan. Demonstrations could start as early as 5:00 p.m. Locations of demonstrations may be determined last minute. Based on historic activity, expect demonstrations in Al Souk Al Arabi area of Khartoum, Omdurman, Bahri, Burri, and al Kalakla areas.
  • “THURSDAY, January 31, 2019, the Sudanese Professionals Association is calling for demonstrations in Khartoum and other major cities in Sudan. Demonstrations could start as early as 1:00 p.m. Locations of demonstrations may be determined last minute. Based on historic activity, expect demonstrations in Al Souk Al Arabi area in Khartoum, Omdurman, Bahri, Burri, and al Kalakla areas.
  • “Spontaneous night-time demonstrations may continue throughout the country. Based on recent protest activity, multiple, spontaneous protests throughout the city could occur in addition to the planned demonstrations. Demonstrations could escalate in intensity quickly. Security force presence and action is expected to be very substantial throughout the city. Protests may occur without warning at any time and may continue in the coming weeks.
  • “U.S. Embassy Khartoum is also aware of a continued increased presence of Sudanese armed forces in Khartoum.”

  • Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 25 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev issued a Security Alert for Odessa, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Odesa, Ukraine
  • “Event: Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are investigating improvised explosive device attacks that took place in the Arcadia area of Odesa on January 21 and 22, 2019. The attacks injured one individual and caused considerable damage. The U.S. Embassy believes these types of criminal attacks are likely to recur, and they could affect bystanders.
  • “Actions to Take:
  • Exercise caution when traveling to Odesa proper and the Arcadia area in particular.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and employ sound situational awareness.
  • Follow local law enforcement instructions.
  • Monitor local media for updates.”

  • 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.