Worldview Security Update – July 2, 2019
2-Jul-19

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 1 July 2019, protesters blocked roads and highways across Costa Rica. In San Jose, the capital, taxi drivers staged a “go slow” protest near Juan Santamaria International Airport (MROC/SJO), significantly disrupting traffic to and from the airport. Additionally, student protesters and truck drivers erected barricades on a number of routes across the country. According to transportation officials, roadblocks were in place on highways in the following locations: Agua Zarcas, Grecia, Guapiles, Limon, Monterrey, Perez Zeledon, Rio Claro, San Carlos, Sarapiqui and Siquirres. However, as of early on 2 July, police officers were removing barricades from highways in several locations, including on National Route 32, which connects the port city of Limon to San Jose. Associated protests against the Value Added Tax (VAT) — which went into effect on 1 July — and to demand the resignation of Education Minister Edgar Mora, have been ongoing in the country since 28 June. While the minister has resigned from his post, students and other trade unions have pledged to continue the protest actions to achieve other demands. Meanwhile, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) has established a hotline for tourists and businesses affected by the protest actions; those affected can contact officials at (506) 8628-3247.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0000 local time on 2 July 2019 (1600 UTC on 1 July), riot police officers deployed tear gas and used batons against a crowd of protesters gathered outside the Legislative Council building in central Hong Kong. Officers then forcibly cleared the building of several hundred demonstrators, who had stormed it earlier in the night during an anti-extradition protest and had occupied it for several hours. It is not currently known if injuries were incurred during the clashes.

India (Security threat level – 3): As of 2 July 2019, heavy rains continue to disrupt transportation services across Mumbai. Flight operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (VABB/BOM) remain disrupted due to the closure of the airport’s main runway after a Spice Jet Boeing 737-800 aircraft skidded off the runway as it attempted to land amid heavy rain on 1 July. At least 54 incoming flights have been diverted and 52 others have been canceled thus far; international flights are among those affected. Airport officials have warned that crews may take up to 48 hours to reopen the runway; while a secondary runway is in operation, it is not sufficiently wide to accommodate larger aircraft. Airport authorities have further advised passengers to expect flight delays and check the status of their flights with their airlines prior to travel to the airport. Ground transportation in the city is also disrupted due to poor weather conditions. For instance, flooding has been reported on the Western Express Highway, which leads to the airport. Rainfall also affected rail services. For example, Western Railway experienced delays and seven Central Railway trains stopped operations early, cutting off service at approximately 0400 local time (2230 UTC on 1 July).

Meanwhile, inclement weather prompted Maharashtra state officials to declare a public holiday in Mumbai on 2 July. The stock exchange and banks operated, but educational institutions in parts of the city remained closed. Authorities urged residents to remain indoors to the extent possible due to the heavy rainfall throughout the day.

Also on 2 July, heavy rain caused several walls throughout Mumbai to collapse. At least 18 people were killed and more than 60 others were injured in Malad, a suburb located approximately 20 km (12 mi) north of central Mumbai, when a retaining wall collapsed on an informal settlement. Several others were believed to be trapped under the debris, as authorities continue recovery efforts at the site. In total, at least 27 people were killed during similar accidents throughout Mumbai on 1-2 July.

EUROPE

Greece (Security threat level – 3): Dockworkers in Greece are expected to participate in a nationwide 24-hour strike on 3 July 2019. Dockworkers called for the strike after rejecting a proposed labor agreement over a salary and workload dispute with passenger vessel operators. All ferry services connecting Greek islands to the mainland and ferries connecting Greece and Italy are likely to be disrupted during the strike.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0030 local time on 2 July 2019 (2130 UTC on 1 July), Houthi forces carried out at least one armed drone strike on Abha International Airport (OEAB/AHB), located approximately 830 km (515 mi) southwest of Riyadh and about 100 km north of the Yemeni border. Reports indicate that the drone hit a parking area of the facility and forced officials to temporarily halt flight operations. At least nine civilians, including eight Saudis and one Indian national, were injured in the attack.

Analyst Comment: Houthi militia forces have repeatedly targeted aviation facilities in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks. For example, on 30 June, Saudi authorities stated that the country’s air defense systems intercepted a Houthi drone headed for Jizan Regional Airport (OEGN/GIZ). Houthi rebels most recently targeted Abha International Airport, which serves both domestic and regional flights, on 23 June; earlier on 12 June, an armed drone struck the airport’s arrivals hall. Yemen-based Houthi rebels have stated that they intend to continue such attacks on the facility.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 2 July 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Bolivia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “There are sporadic blockades on the route to South and North Yungas in La Paz because of recent problems with coca leaf growers in the area. Some have turned violent. You should check with local authorities on the latest situation before travelling.”
  • Namibia (Security threat level – 2): On 1 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: U.S. Embassy Windhoek
  • “Event: Demonstration on July 3 at the U.S. Embassy
  • “The U.S. Embassy in Windhoek has received reports of a planned demonstration regarding U.S. policy in Cuba and Venezuela on Wednesday, July 3, starting at 1:00 p.m. The demonstration will begin outside the City of Windhoek Municipal Offices on Independence Avenue and travel to the U.S. Embassy near the Post Office at Ausspannplatz. The demonstration is expected to last until 2:00 p.m.”
  • Republic of Congo (Security threat level – 3): On 1 July 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Republic of Congo, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The Foreign and Commonwealth Officer (FCO) advise against all travel to within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic in Likouala region; the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Boko, Kindamba, Kinkala, Mayama, and Mindouli districts of the Pool region and the Mouyondzi district of Bouenza region with the exception of the region and city of Brazzaville.”
  • 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.