Worldview Security Update – April 25, 2019
25-Apr-19

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Various Colombian unions are planning to launch a strike in major cities across Colombia on 25 April 2019 to protest against the government’s National Development Plan. The strikers are also planning to hold accompanying demonstrations in at least 19 out of Colombia’s 32 departments. In Bogotá, union workers will march from five different points in the city and converge on the Plaza de Bolívar. In Medellín, demonstrators will march from Parque de Los Deseos to the Alpujarra Administrative Center. In Barranquilla, demonstrators will march from the Inem Calle 30 School to the Simón Bolívar neighborhood roundabout. In Cartagena, demonstrators will rally at the India Catalina Monument. Travelers in Colombia should anticipate significant traffic disruptions in the vicinity of these marches.

ASIA

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 3): On 25 April 2019, authorities briefly closed the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo’s central business district after the facility received a false bomb threat. Several roads in the vicinity were also closed while police officials investigated the threat. Authorities also closed the main road leading to Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (VCBI/CMB) as a precaution after a suspicious vehicle was seen in a parking lot. Authorities later determined that the vehicle did not pose a threat.

Meanwhile, an explosion occurred in a vacant lot near the magistrates’ court in the city of Pugoda, located approximately 40 km (25 mi) east of Colombo. Police officials stated that the explosion took place in a garbage dump located in the vacant lot and officers were investigating the cause of the explosion. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

EUROPE

Belarus / Lithuania / Ukraine / Czech Republic (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 4 / 2): As of 25 April 2019, authorities in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Ukraine are on high alert for forest fires, amid dry weather conditions and high winds. Authorities in Belarus extinguished two massive fires near the country’s borders with Ukraine and Lithuania on 24 April. The fires briefly led to the closure of the Privalka border crossing between Belarus and Lithuania. Belarus authorities have also banned the public from entering forests in 18 regions across the country, including 11 in the Grodno oblast and seven in the central Minsk oblast. Meanwhile, In the Czech Republic, the Hydrometeorological Institute has issued a fire warning for the Moravian region and the Highlands until further notice, while in Ukraine, the State Emergency Service has warned that an extreme level of fire hazard was expected in the northern, western, central and Kharkiv regions of Ukraine through at least 28 April.

Denmark / Norway / Sweden (Security threat levels – 2 / 2 / 2): As of 25 April 2019, pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden employed by Scandinavian airline SAS have threatened to launch an indefinite strike beginning on 26 April unless a last-minute deal is reached on wages and working hours. The pilots from these three countries represent approximately 95 percent of the airline’s pilots in Scandinavia. While not all flights are at risk of cancellation or disruption, authorities stated that approximately 70 percent of flights could be affected. SAS officials have advised passengers that they can reschedule flights booked for the 26-29 April period to another date free of charge.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mozambique (Security threat level – 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 25

April 2019, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth (24S) was located approximately 170 km (105 mi) west of Comoros Island, and was moving west-southwest at a speed of 15 kph (9 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 232 kph, with gusts of up to 278 kph. Kenneth made landfall in Comoros and Mayotte on 24 April, bringing heavy rains and high winds to both islands. Kenneth is expected to strengthen and could make landfall in northern Mozambique on 25 April as a Category 4 storm. Mozambique’s national airline LAM has suspended all flights from Maputo International Airport (FQMA/MPM) to Pemba Airport (FQPB/POL) ahead of Cyclone Kenneth’s arrival. Landslides and flash flooding are expected throughout northern Mozambique.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 24 April 2019, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice for Benin, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Parliamentary elections will take place on 28 April 2019. Political rallies and protests are expected in the period leading up to and possibly beyond the elections. Be alert, avoid crowds and demonstrations, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities (See Safety and security). We haven’t changed the level of our advice – exercise a high degree of caution in Benin. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.”
  • Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 24 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Republic of Benin and its land borders
  • “Event: Benin’s land borders may be closed for legislative elections on Sunday, April 28, 2019. Please plan your travel accordingly. Demonstrations may occur throughout the election period.”
  • Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Colombia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “A nationwide general strike has been called for Thursday 25 April. Major highways may be blocked. Organised armed groups may use social protests as a chance to launch attacks on security services. You should avoid all public demonstrations and follow the advice of local security services.”
  • Kosovo (Security threat level – 4): On 25 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Pristina issued a Demonstration Alert for 26 April, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Luan Haradinaj St., Pristina, Kosovo.
  • “Event: Demonstrations are expected to take place on April 26, 2019 beginning at 1000. Vetevendosje political party will hold a protest demanding the dismissal of Kosovo’s chief prosecutor.”
  • Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 24 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Nigeria, which reads in part as follows:

  • “A British national was tragically killed in Kaduna on Friday 19 April 2019. The FCO continue to advise against all but essential travel to Kaduna. You should exercise additional vigilance in crowded public places.”
  • Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 25 April 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion issued a Demonstration

    Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Downtown area of Asuncion
  • “Event: Due to a large political demonstration occurring this morning regarding election reform, the U.S. Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area. Currently, there are about 100 protestors but more are expected to gather before today’s opening session of Congress at 9:00 a.m. Major avenues affected are Paraguayo Independiente, Yegros, Independencia Nacional, Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, Chile, Alberdi, 14 de Mayo, 15 de Agosto, Ayolas, O’Leary and Colon.”
  • 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.