Worldview Security Report – March 18, 2019
18-Mar-19

AMERICAS

Nicaragua (Security threat level – 4): On 16 March 2019, police officers clashed with opposition

supporters who staged protests in the capital Managua to demand the release of all political prisoners. Reports indicate that police officers armed with batons clashed with protesters in multiple areas of the city, including at the upscale Metrocentro Mall and on the Carretera Masaya thoroughfare. There were reports of injuries, but no reports of fatalities. Authorities detained more than 100 protesters during the demonstrations.

Analyst Comment: The protest occurred after the government refused to release political prisoners during the most recent negotiations with the opposition, which broke down earlier this month. This was the first protest to occur in Managua since the government imposed a ban on demonstrations in November 2018.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 18 March 2019, authorities are conducting rescue and relief operations in parts of the United States’ Midwestern region that have been affected by widespread floods. Thousands of residents in the region, including in the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, have evacuated their residences as rivers in the area reach record levels. The governors of Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin have declared states of emergency in response to the flooding, which was caused by heavy rainfall and melting snow in the aftermath of a recent powerful winter storm. Additional rainfall mixed with snow is forecast to hit the area until 19 March, which could further exacerbate the flooding. Thus far, there have been a total of three flooding-related fatalities.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): According to reports from 15 March 2019, approximately 4,000 contract workers at Cochin International Airport (VOCI/COK) are planning to launch a strike and protest on 19 March to demand higher pay and better working conditions. It remains unknown whether the action will affect airport operations.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 18 March 2019, Tropical Depression Three, locally known as Tropical Depression Chedeng, was located approximately 315 km (200 mi) east of Davao on Mindanao Island. At that time, the storm was moving west at a speed of approximately 30 kph (20 mph), and was generating maximum sustained winds of 37 kph with gusts up to 56 kph. Tropical Depression Chedeng is expected to make landfall in Davao Oriental province by 19 March. Moderate rainfall is expected over the next three days, and authorities have warned of possible flooding and landslides.

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 18 March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Trevor was located approximately 520 km (320 mi) north of Cairns in Queensland state. At that time, the storm was moving west at a speed of approximately 13 kph (8 mph) and generating maximum sustained winds of 93 kph, with gusts up to 120 kph. Tropical Cyclone Trevor is currently forecast to make landfall near Lockhart River, and then cross Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula before entering the Gulf of Carpentaria. A Cyclone Warning is in place from Orford Ness to Cooktown, and authorities have warned of potential flooding in the affected areas.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 16 March 2019, approximately 32,300 people participated in the 18th consecutive weekend of “yellow vest” protests in cities across France, including 10,000 in Paris. Considerable violence occurred in Paris, where protesters erected barricades and threw cobblestones at police officers near the Arc de Triomphe; authorities responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons. Demonstrators also set fire to and looted several stores on the Champs-Elysees. In one incident, rioters set fire to a bank on the first floor of an apartment building during the looting; firefighters evacuated the building, but 11 people in the building and two firefighters sustained minor injuries. Paris authorities stated that at least 91 businesses were damaged in the violence. Authorities arrested approximately 240 people. At least 17 police officers and 42 protesters were injured in the clashes. Violent protests were also reported in other French cities, including Bordeaux.

France (Security threat level – 3): As of 18 March 2019, several French labor unions — including Solidaires, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and the Force Ouvrière — have called for a nationwide general strike that will start at 1900 local time (1800 UTC) on 18 March and end at 0700 local time on 20 March. Reports indicate that French National Railway Company (SNCF) workers, air traffic controllers and public transportation workers may participate in the 24-hour strike. In a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) released on 15 March, authorities warned that the strike could affect operations at airports across the country, including the following: Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG/CDG), Paris Orly Airport (LFPO/ORY), Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (LFMN/NCE), Marseille Provence Airport (LFML/MRS), Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (LFBD/BOD) and Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (LFBO/TLS). It is currently unknown how many people will participate in the strike. Authorities at the French national railway company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) reported that some services will be affected during the strike, and cancellations have been announced on several lines, including the Tours-Orléans-Paris, Paris-Bourges-Montluçon, Orléans-Toury-Etampes and Orléans-Vierzon-Bourges. Paris’ state-owned public transport operator Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) also stated that subway services will not be affected and that bus services will be “almost normal.” Travelers should reconfirm travel plans during the strike period.

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1045 local time (0945 UTC) on 18 March 2019, a man opened fire inside a tram in the city of Utrecht and then fled the scene. The incident took place near the 24th of October Square, which has been cordoned off. At least three people were killed and nine others were wounded, as of the most recent reports. Emergency personnel are at the scene and authorities have asked the public to stay away to allow first responders to do their job. As of this writing, there are reports that authorities have surrounded an apartment block near the tram shooting; it is currently unknown whether the attacker — who remains at large — is inside. Authorities have stepped up security at schools, mosques, government buildings and transportation hubs in Utrecht, as well as in other cities nationwide. All trains and trams in Utrecht have been canceled, and authorities have advised those in the city to not travel unless necessary.

Utrecht police authorities are investigating the shooting as a possible terrorist incident; no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities have raised the terrorism threat level in the province of Utrecht to “critical,” the highest on the Netherlands’ five-tier scale, until at least 1800 local time. The rest of the country remains at a “substantial” threat level, the second highest level on the terrorism scale. Germany has increased surveillance along the country’s border with the Netherlands, including along major highways, smaller crossings and railroad routes, in light of the incident.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 15-16 March 2019, demonstrators in Kinshasa protested against the outcome of the Democratic of Republic’s senatorial elections, in which former President Joseph Kabila’s Front pour le Congo Commun (FCC) coalition secured a majority. In one instance of violence, supporters of President Felix Tshisekedi’s Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social (UDPS) rioted outside the party’s headquarters, located in the Limete municipality. In another outbreak of violence, demonstrators allegedly looted and burned several vehicles and residences, including the residence of a legislator affiliated with former President Kabila. The bodyguard of the FCC parliamentarian was killed in the unrest. Elsewhere in the country, former Kamwina Nsapu militiamen in Kananga, located in the Kasaï-Central province, demonstrated outside the provincial assembly. Following the violence, authorities have tightened security in Kinshasa.

Mozambique / Malawi / Zimbabwe (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 4): As of 18 March 2019, Cyclone Idai has caused significant damage in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. An estimated 1.5 million people have been affected by the storm, with hundreds of people reported missing. The Red Cross estimates that at least 215 people have died. In Mozambique, the cyclone destroyed 90 percent of Beira, the capital of Sofala province; the city has no access to electricity and Beira Airport (FQBR/BEW) remains closed. In Zimbabwe, the government has declared a state of disaster in the eastern district of Chimanimani, after the storm caused heavy flooding. While the storm has weakened, heavy rains over Mozambique and Zimbabwe are continuing to hamper ongoing rescue efforts.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 18 March 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad issued a Security Alert regarding Pakistan Day that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
  • “Event: Pakistan Day is a national public holiday held on March 23 to commemorate the Lahore Resolution of 1940. Government operations, including a military parade, will significantly affect traffic in Islamabad during dress rehearsals scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2019 (0800 hours to 1400 hours) and Thursday, March 21 (0800 hours to 1400 hours), and on the day of the parade, Saturday, March 23, 2019 (0800 hours to 1400 hours). Expect extra police presence, traffic congestion, and the suspension of cellular service.
  • “The following roads will be closed: Faisal Avenue, from Zero Point to Faizabad; Islamabad Express Way from Khana Bridge to Faizabad; Murree Road from Rawal Dam to Faizabad; Shakarparian Road to Best Western Picket.
  • “The following roads will remain open: Constitution Avenue, Jinnah Avenue, Margalla Road”

  • 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.