Worldview Security Update – November 19, 2019
20-Nov-19

BARBADOS (Security threat level – 1)

POWER OUTAGE AFFECTS BARBADOS

On 18 November 2019, the Barbados Light & Power Company (BLPC) suffered an engine failure, resulting in power outages across most of the island. Although authorities restored power to most areas by midnight, power outages resumed on the morning of 19 November and are ongoing. The power outages have disrupted water supplies across Barbados, as the outages have affected Barbados Water Authority (BWA) pumping stations. BWA officials have stated that they will put pumping stations online once power is restored and they have encouraged customers to store water in the event that outages continue. Water tankers have been deployed to affected areas. Some schools and businesses have closed due to the power outages, while other businesses, such as hotels and resorts, have relied on their own generators. Officials have not stated when they expect power to be fully restored. (19 Nov 2019)

BURUNDI (Security threat level – 4)

GUNMEN AMBUSH BURUNDIAN MILITARY CAMP NEAR RWANDAN BORDER

According to reports on 19 November 2019, a group of unidentified armed assailants ambushed a Burundian military post at Mount Twinyoni — located in northwest Burundi approximately 10 km (6 mi) from the Rwandan border — early on 17 November. At least eight soldiers were killed and more than 15 others were wounded; several dozen others are reported as missing. Authorities stated that they believe rebels based in neighboring Rwanda perpetrated the attack, although no group has yet claimed responsibility. (19 Nov 2019)

COLOMBIA (Security threat level – 4)

COLOMBIA TO CLOSE LAND AND RIVER BORDERS IN PREPARATION FOR NATIONAL STRIKE

On 19 November 2019, the Colombian government announced that it will close all land and river borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela in preparation for a nationwide general strike and demonstrations on 21 November. The border closure will be in effect from 0000 local time (0400 UTC) on 20 November through 0500 local time on 22 November. Authorities stated that the measure is intended to limit potential violence during demonstrations by preventing foreign provocateurs from entering the country. 

Demonstrations are scheduled to occur in cities across Colombia, including Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, Medellín and Bucaramanga, to protest against President Iván Duque’s economic policies. In Bogotá, marches are expected to begin at 0900 local time on 21 November starting from the National Park, the Cundinamarca Governorate, National University, Sevillana metro station, Hospital San Juan de Dios, and the Chicó neighborhood. 

(19 Nov 2019)

FINLAND (Security threat level – 2)

STRIKES EXPECTED ACROSS FINLAND ON 25 NOVEMBER

Officials expect aviation and transportation sectors across Finland to be disrupted on 25 November 2019, as the Transport Workers’ Union (AKT), the Finnish Seafarers’ Union (SMU) and the Finnish Aviation Union (IAU) have called for strikes in support of an already ongoing strike by postal workers. Bus transportation in Helsinki will likely experience significant disruptions and the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) has warned residents that it will not arrange for substitute services during the strike. Officials expect flight disruptions to begin on 24 November, as IAU members include ground handling and airport security personnel. Finnair employees are also likely to participate in the strike. Additionally, the SMU strike is likely to affect ferries. Negotiations are ongoing to end the postage workers’ strike. (19 Nov 2019)

GERMANY (Security threat level – 3)

POLICE OFFICERS ARREST MAN SUSPECTED OF PLANNING ATTACK

On 19 November 2019, police officers in Berlin arrested a man accused of planning a terrorist attack. Prosecutors stated that the man drew attention when he began to purchase chemicals used in creating bombs and exchanged instructions for making weapons with other suspected terrorists. Authorities stated that the location and time of the thwarted attack are currently unknown. (19 Nov 2019)

HAITI (Security threat level – 4)

U.S. EMBASSY IN PORT-AU-PRINCE ISSUES SECURITY ALERT REGARDING ONGOING PROTESTS

On 19 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince issued an updated Security Alert regarding ongoing protests, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: U.S. Embassy

"Events: There is a small protest taking place in front of the Embassy. Embassy staff is prohibited from leaving the premises." (19 Nov 2019)

U.S. EMBASSY IN PORT-AU-PRINCE ISSUES SECURITY ALERT REGARDING ONGOING PROTESTS

On 19 November 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince issued a Security Alert regarding ongoing protests, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Champ des Mars

"Events: Reports of a protest in the Champ des Mars area, near the French Embassy." (19 Nov 2019)

INDIA (Security threat level – 3)

U.K. FCO UPDATES TRAVEL ADVICE REGARDING VAPING IN INDIA

On 19 November 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice regarding vaping to read in part as follows: “The Indian government has recently announced a ban on e-cigarettes and related products. You will be unable to buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country.” (19 Nov 2019)

ITALY (Security threat level – 3)

TRENORD RAIL EMPLOYEES TO LAUNCH STRIKE ON 15 DECEMBER

Trenord rail employees in Milan are expected to go on strike on 15 December 2019. The Ministry of Transport stated that the strike is scheduled to last from 0300 local time (0200 UTC) on 15 December to 0200 local time on 16 December. The strike will affect regional and suburban lines, including the Malpensa Express line to Malpensa Airport (LIMC/MXP). (19 Nov 2019)

LEBANON (Security threat level – 4)

On 19 November 2019, police officers clashed with anti-government protesters in downtown Beirut’s Riad Solh Square. At least three protesters were injured and 12 others were arrested in the incident. The exact cause of the clash is unknown. (19 Nov 2019)

NETHERLANDS (Security threat level – 2)

HOSPITAL WORKERS TO LAUNCH STRIKE ON 21 NOVEMBER

Hospital workers in the Netherlands will begin a previously announced strike to demand higher wages and better working conditions on 21 November 2019. The strike will affect most hospitals in the country, excluding university hospitals. Emergency departments will continue to function, but laboratories, nursing departments and radiology departments will not operate. Officials stated that hundreds of surgeries and thousands of appointments have been canceled due to the strike. (19 Nov 2019)

NICARAGUA (Security threat level – 4)

PRO-GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS STORM MANAGUA CATHEDRAL

On 18 November 2019, police officers allowed pro-government supporters to storm the Managua Cathedral in Managua and to harass protesters engaged in a hunger strike on behalf of political prisoners. The pro-government mob vandalized the building and assaulted two priests; the protesters — who began their indefinite hunger strike on 18 November to call for the release of some of the approximately 150 political prisoners the government is currently holding — relocated to another part of the cathedral to continue their movement. (18 Nov 2019)

PAKISTAN (Security threat level – 5)

MILITARY TESTS SHORT-RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILE

On 18 November 2019, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) agency announced that the military had successfully conducted a test of the nuclear-capable Shaheen-1 short-range ballistic missile. Authorities stated that the missile, which entered service in 2003, is capable of traveling up to approximately 650 km (405 mi). The test launch follows a test of the Agni-2 medium-range ballistic missile by India on 16 November. (19 Nov 2019)

PHILIPPINES (Security threat level – 4)

PRESIDENT DUTERTE ANNOUNCES INTENT TO BAN E-CIGARETTES

On 19 November 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte announced plans to ban the importation and use of e-cigarettes as well as arrest individuals caught vaping in public. Authorities previously banned smoking cigarettes in public in 2003, and Duterte issued an executive order in 2017 to supplement the ban. Duterte’s announcement came after the Department of Health reportedly sought legislation to ban e-cigarettes. (19 Nov 2019)

TROPICAL DEPRESSION 28W FORMS EAST OF PHILIPPINES

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Tropical Depression 28W – known as "Sarah" in the Philippines – has formed in the Pacific Ocean, and was located approximately 970 km (600 mi) east of Manila as of 1500 UTC on 19 November 2019. At that time, 28W was moving west-northwest at 24 kph (15 mph); it was generating maximum sustained winds of 46 kph, with gusts of up to 65 kph. Current forecasts indicate that 28W is expected to cross over the Babuyan Islands in Cagayan province by 21 November. (19 Nov 2019)

SOUTH AFRICA (Security threat level – 4)

AUTHORITIES CLOSE PARK RAIL STATION IN JOHANNESBURG FOLLOWING VANDALISM INCIDENT

On 19 November 2019, authorities closed Park rail station in central Johannesburg following an act of vandalism. A group of disgruntled former station security guards reportedly perpetrated the attack, which damaged platforms 10, 11 and 12, as well as a ticketing window and at least one shop inside the station. The closure affected all arriving and departing trains from Park station; authorities did not specify when the station would reopen and services would resume. There were no reports of injuries. (19 Nov 2019)

AUTHORITIES RECOVER TWO BODIES FROM SUNCOAST BEACH OUTSIDE DURBAN

On the evening of 18 November 2019, local authorities recovered the bodies of two people along Suncoast beach, located approximately 5 km (3 mi) northeast of central Durban. Both victims had sustained fatal stab wounds. Police officials have launched a homicide investigation, but have not disclosed the identities of the victims. (19 Nov 2019)

SPAIN (Security threat level – 3)

PRESIDENT OF CATALONIA ON TRIAL FOR NOT REMOVING SEPARATIST SYMBOLS FROM GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS

On 18 November 2019, President of Catalonia Quim Torra went on trial for refusing to remove separatist symbols from government buildings. The prosecution stated that the symbols did not respect the governmental neutrality prior to the April 2019 parliamentary elections. Prosecutors have called for a 20-month ban on Torra holding public office, which would remove him from the presidency and spark early regional elections. (19 Nov 2019)