Worldview Security Report – March 6, 2019
6-Mar-19

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 6 March 2019, farmers continued a sit-in protest for a second consecutive day on the train tracks outside the city of Amritsar in Punjab state. The protest action disrupted at least 38 trains, including almost all scheduled services between Amritsar and New Delhi. As of last report, the farmers have ended their protest after the High Court of Punjab and Haryana intervened. However, train disruptions are likely to persist as services return to normal.

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 6 March 2019, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued an updated Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which extends the country’s general airspace closure until 1300 local time (0800 UTC) on 7 March, except for flight operations to and from certain airports. The new NOTAM also announces that Multan International Airport (OPMT/MUX), Chitral Airport (OPCH/CJL), Panjgur Airport (OPPG/PJG), Turbat International Airport (OPTU/TUK) and Gwadar International Airport (OPGD/GWD) have reopened to domestic air traffic. In recent days, several airports — including those in Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad — have resumed operations, but remained subject to routing restrictions. Authorities have given no reason for the continued closure of the country’s airspace.

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 5 March 2019, London authorities investigated reports of suspicious packages at Heathrow International Airport (EGLL/LHR), London City Airport (EGLC/LCY) and London’s Waterloo rail station. The first suspicious package was found on Heathrow Airport’s grounds at the Compass Centre office building at approximately 0955 local time/UTC. The device reportedly caught fire when an employee opened the package; there were no reports of injuries. Authorities evacuated the building and experts neutralized the package. Airport operations were not affected by the incident.

The second suspicious package was found at Waterloo station, the busiest train station in London, at approximately 1140 local time. Police officers cordoned off a small area near one of the station’s exits to allow specialists to inspect the package; train services through the station were not affected.

The third suspicious package was found at London City Airport’s Aviation House at approximately 1210 local time. Police officers evacuated the building, temporarily suspended services on Docklands Light Railway and closed all access roads to the airport for approximately one hour. Pedestrian access to the airport remained available during this time and airport authorities reported that flight operations were not disrupted.

Police sources stated that all three packages consisted of A4 postal bags that contained improvised explosive devices, and that authorities were launching a counterterrorism operation and treating the packages as linked incidents. Irish authorities are assisting British counterterrorism police, as the packages at Heathrow Airport and Waterloo station had stamps from the Republic of Ireland, as well as Dublin return addresses. As of last report, U.K. authorities have stated that it is currently unknown who sent the packages, and that the devices were small and not designed to kill. Police officers have deployed additional personnel to at all three locations, and the investigation is ongoing.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 6 March 2019, military personnel took over passenger screening and security operations at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (HKJK/NBO) after approximately 2,000 members of the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) launched a strike over Kenya Airways’ proposed takeover of the airport. The strike began at midnight local time (2100 UTC) on 6 March and affected hundreds of passengers. During the strike, riot police officers used tear gas and batons to prevent KAWU workers from protesting at the facility. They also arrested at least 10 KAWU officials — including the secretary general of the union — for participating in the strike, which transport authorities deemed illegal. As of this writing, airport officials have stated that “all scheduled arrivals have been processed and the backlog of departures arising from this morning’s disruptions has been substantively cleared.” Travelers should check the status of their flights prior to heading to the airport.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 6 March 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Kenya which reads in part as follows:

  • “Following industrial action by some airport staff, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is currently experiencing disruptions. You should check with your airline before departing for the airport.”

  • Nicaragua (Security threat level – 4): On 5 March 2019, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice for Nicaragua, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The violence associated with protest action in Nicaragua since April 2018 has diminished and relative calm has been restored. Some tensions remain and you should exercise caution and avoid all demonstrations as they may turn violent. We’ve lowered the level of our travel advice – exercise a high degree of caution in Nicaragua.”

  • Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 5 March 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Nigeria, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections are due to take place on 9 March 2019, along with some National Assembly elections not completed on 23 February. Demonstrations are likely across Nigeria and are of particular concern in Abuja and some Nigerian states including Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos and Rivers. The result of the Presidential election, where President Buhari was elected for a second term, has been disputed and legal challenges may begin. Consequently tensions continue to run high throughout Nigeria and public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice and have the potential to turn violent. You should continue to avoid rallies, public gatherings and demonstrations and monitor local media.”

  • 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.