Worldview Security Update – May 14, 2019
14-May-19

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 13 May 2019, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has assigned a Category 2 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Costa Rica following a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority Dirección General de Aviación Civil (DGAC). The FAA stated that Costa Rica — which had held a Category 1 rating since 1996 — is no longer in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. All Cost Rican carriers currently operating to the U.S. can continue extant flight services, but will be prohibited from adding further services. The FAA assigns a Category 2 rating to a country that “either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.”

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 13 May 2019, two floatplanes carrying tourists collided in midair near the town of Ketchikan, located approximately 225 mi (360 km) southeast of Juneau, Alaska. The accident involved a Havilland Otter DHC-3 carrying 11 passengers and a Havilland DHC-2 Beaver with five passengers on board. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, five people were killed and 10 others were injured. One passenger remains missing. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the accident.

ASIA

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2019, government-run jute mill workers launched an indefinite strike action to demand the payment of wage arrears and the implementation of the pay scale system announced in 2015. As part of the strike, workers plan to block roads and railways between 1600 and 1900 local time every day (1000 and 1300 UTC) until their demands are met. The state minister of labor and employment announced that the government will attempt to pay arrears within one week. The protests continued on 14 May, although there were no reports of significant disruptions.

India (Security threat level – 3): On 14 May 2019, farmers gathered in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, to protest against the government. The protesters attempted to march to the Raj Bhavan (Government House), but police officers used water cannons to disperse them. One protest leader claimed that several dozen farmers sustained injuries.

India (Security threat level – 3): On 14 May 2019, protests continued for the third consecutive day in Indian-administered Kashmir over the rape of a minor. Police officers used tear gas to prevent student protesters from leaving a university campus. Authorities have decided to accelerate the investigation, but protesters continue to demand harsh punishments for the individual accused of perpetrating the rape, whom authorities are holding in custody. At least 70 people have been injured since the protests began on 13 May. Many schools and businesses have also closed for the second consecutive day.

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 3): On 14 May 2019, authorities extended a nationwide curfew for a second day following incidents of communal violence that targeted mosques and Muslim-owned businesses. The nationwide curfew will last from 2100 local time until 0400 local time (1530 UTC until 2230 UTC) on 15 May, although certain parts of the countries will have different restrictions. For example, the Gampaha district in Western Province will be under curfew from 1900 local time until 0600 local time. Meanwhile, the North Western Province, where most of the violence took place, will be under curfew from 1800 local time until 0600 local time. Security forces have been deployed to the affected areas to prevent the spread of violence. Travelers with passports and valid flight tickets will still able to travel to airports during the curfew.

EUROPE

Albania (Security threat level – 3): On 13 May 2019, thousands of demonstrators marched in central Tirana to protest against government corruption and alleged vote stealing in the country’s 2017 parliamentary election. The protesters threw Molotov cocktails, firecrackers and flares as they marched past the prime minister’s office, Interior Ministry, national police headquarters, Tirana city police department and Parliament building. The police building was damaged during the protest and one police officer was injured. There were no reports of arrests.

The protest follows a previous anti-government protest held on 11 May, in which protesters “caused considerable damage to the prime minister’s office, the Parliament’s headquarters, the Interior Ministry, as well as to other public and private subjects,” according to a police statement. Police officials also claimed that 16 police officers were injured in those clashes with protesters. Police officers arrested 50 people following the 11 May protest.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 14 May 2019, Saudi officials reported that an armed drone had attacked two pumping stations in the provinces of Afif and al-Duwadmi. Reports indicate the attack in al-Duwadmi caused a fire, but no casualties. The attack on the pumping station in Afif did not cause any damage. Saudi officials have temporarily shut down the East-West Pipeline while they assess and repair any damage. Yemeni-basedHouthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they launched seven armed drones at facilities in Saudi Arabia; there was no independent corroboration of this claim.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 14 May 2019, protesters in the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman set up roadblocks and burned tires following a series of clashes between protesters and security forces the previous day. There have been no reports of violence thus far.

The previous day, security personnel clashed with protesters outside Khartoum’s army headquarters shortly after ruling military officials and protest leaders reached an agreement on the structure of a new administration. At least six protesters and one security force member were killed, while a number of protesters were injured. Similar clashes occurred in nearby Omdurman. While protesters blamed the soldiers for the violence, the army blamed “unidentified elements.”

Meanwhile, in a separate incident on 13 May, Sudanese security forces used tear gas to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in Khartoum‘s Bahri neighborhood (commonly called Khartoum North). Security forces also forcibly dismantled barricades, which the protesters had erected. There were no reports of casualties related to this incident.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Exercise increased caution when traveling in Ethiopia due to sporadic civil unrest and communications disruptions. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • “Do Not Travel To:
    Somali Regional State due to potential for civil unrest, terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines.
  • “Reconsider Travel To:

    The East Hararge region and the Guji zone of Oromia State due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
    Benishangul Gumuz and the western part of Oromia State due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
    Border areas with Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea due to crime, armed conflict, and civil unrest.

  • “Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence may occur without warning.
  • “The Government of Ethiopia has restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services during and after civil unrest. These restrictions impede the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with, and provide consular services to, U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.
  • “The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. As a precaution, U.S. government personnel must request permission for any travel outside of Addis Ababa (personal and official), and are required to carry personnel tracking devices and, in some cases, satellite phones. U.S. government personnel and their families may not travel to the areas listed as Level 3 and Level 4 in this Travel Advisory except for official business and with prior approval from the Embassy.”
  • Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 13 May 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
  • “Event: May 14, 2019, is the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem, as well as related protests along the Gaza periphery. Terrorist groups may choose the anniversary, which coincides with the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv (May 14-18), or Nakba Day (May 15), to conduct violent protests or an attack. Security incidents can occur well beyond Gaza and its periphery and at any time, as demonstrated by the May 3-5 rocket attacks in southern Israel, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Be’er Sheva, and the March 14 and March 25 rocket attacks in Central Israel.
  • “As security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. In the event of mortar and/or rocket fire, a Red Alert siren may be activated. Treat all such alerts as real; follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately. Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space. U.S. government personnel and their family members may be restricted from traveling to areas affected by rocket activity, sirens, and/or the opening of bomb shelters.”
  • 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.