Worldview Security Update – October 1, 2019
1-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 30 September 2019, violent demonstrations continued throughout Haiti for the sixth consecutive day. In the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, police officers fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters after they attempted to set a police station on fire near the Carrefour de l’Aéroport roundabout on the 48 Route de Delmas. At least four people, including a journalist, suffered gunshot wounds during the clashes. Demonstrators also lit two police vehicles on fire. Additionally, security personnel deployed tear gas toward protesters on Ave. John Brown — also known as Lalue — where demonstrators had erected roadblocks and burned tires. Schools, government offices and businesses in Port-au-Prince closed due to the unrest, and are likely to remain closed on 1 October.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Les Cayes, protesters set fire to a police station and looted a local office of the national electric company on 30 September. Reports on social media claim that at least two protesters were killed in the northern city of Limbe, located east of Cap-Hatien, during clashes with police officers. Opposition leaders have encouraged their supporters to continue to stage protests, burn tires and paralyze the country until President Jovenel Moïse resigns.

In a related development, the Dominican Republic has deployed at least 1,000 additional military personnel to its shared border with Haiti, citing increased civil unrest, which brings the total number of troops at the border to 10,000.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): As of 0600 local time (1300 UTC) on 1 October 2019, Tropical Depression Narda was located approximately 180 km (110 mi) northwest of Los Mochis, Mexico, and about 130 km southeast of Guaymas, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Narda was moving northwest at about 22 kph (14 mph) and had maximum sustained winds of 35 kph with higher gusts. According to the most recent forecast, the storm is projected to continue to move along the northwestern coast of mainland Mexico. While Narda’s high winds will likely dissipate on 1 October, heavy and persistent rain from the storm may cause flooding throughout northwest Mexico and the southwestern U.S. over the next 48 hours.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at this time. However, the storm is expected to produce an additional 25-50 mm (1-2 in) of rain in Sinaloa state, with isolated maximums of 250-380 mm. Chihuahua state is expected to receive 25-75 mm of rain, while the state of Sonora is projected to experience 25-50 mm of rain. Meanwhile, storm-generated swells may affect portions of Mexico’s western and southwestern coast, the eastern coast of Baja California Sur and the Isla Marias archipelago; these swells may cause dangerous surf and riptide conditions.

On 30 September high winds from Narda downed trees and caused several signs and awnings to fall in the resort city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Meanwhile, in Jalisco state, the storm flooded at least 260 residences; authorities rescued at least 29 people from the flood waters. There were no reports of injuries in Jalisco or Sinaloa.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3) : As of late on 1 October 2019, violent protests are ongoing across Hong Kong following clashes between police officers and anti-government protesters throughout the day. Some of the most serious clashes have occurred in Causeway Bay, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Wong Tai Sin districts. During the night hours, police officers fired water cannons and tear gas at protesters in Causeway Bay and unidentified individuals set a fire at exit E of the MTR station. Meanwhile in Tsuen Wan, protesters vandalized ATMs of the Bank of China and also defaced the outside of several commercial establishments, including the entrances of Maxim’s and Yoshinoya outlets and the door of a building at Yi Pei Square.

Earlier in the day, protesters in Tsuen Wan threw Molotov cocktails at police officers, who fired warning shots and tear gas in response; one person suffered gunshot wounds. Elsewhere, protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the Bank of China branch in the Tin Hau area of Wan Chai. Earlier in the day, police officers in Tau Ma Tei fired warning shots at the intersection of Nathan and Waterloo roads after protesters armed with projectiles and sticks attacked a police vehicle and assaulted police officers. Police officers also deployed tear gas and organized police charges in Wong Tai Sin, Sham Shui Po and Sha Tin. In Admiralty, police officers fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators near the government headquarters. In Tuen Mun, security personnel deployed tear gas to disperse protesters, who allegedly spread acid; at least two people allegedly suffered acid burns. Police officers also engaged in street clashes with protesters in Mong Kok. In total, at least 31 people have been injured thus far in the protests that have taken place across Hong Kong throughout the day.

Authorities have closed 43 of Hong Kong’s 91 MTR stations. Furthermore, local authorities stated that railway services in the city could be seriously disrupted after protesters threw Molotov cocktails at Tseun Wan and Tai Wai MTR stations. A limited number of train and bus services to Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) have remained operational. Airport operations are also continuing as normal.

Analyst Comment: The unrest broke out during unsanctioned anti-government demonstrations on the 70th National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Clashes that are continuing on 1 October mark a further escalation of the protest-related situation in Hong Kong. Violent protests will very likely continue into 2 October; additional protests and associated violence are highly probable throughout the remainder of this week.

China / Taiwan (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): As of 0900 UTC on 1 October 2019, Typhoon Mitag was located approximately 290 km (180 mi) south-southeast of Shanghai, China, and was moving northward at 28 kph (17 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). At that time, the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 120 kph with gusts of up to 148 kph. Mitag is currently tracking near the coast of eastern China and is expected to affect Shanghai with strong winds and heavy rains. The storm previously affected Taiwan, where some areas received between 23-36 cm (9-14 in) of rain and at least 12 people suffered storm-related injuries. Currently, Mitag is forecast to shift northeast by 2 October and move toward the Korean Peninsula before entering the Sea of Japan on 3 October.

EUROPE

Finland (Security threat level – 2): On 1 October 2019, a sword attack occurred at a college located in a shopping center in the eastern Finnish city of Kuopio. Police officers responded to the incident and opened fire on the attacker. At least one person was killed and 10 others were injured in the attack. Police officers arrested the assailant and cordoned off the shopping center. It is yet unknown if the event was terrorism related; authorities have launched an investigation to determine the possible motive of the perpetrator.

Portugal (Security threat level – 2): As of 1200 UTC on 1 October 2019, Hurricane Lorenzo was located approximately 895 km (555 mi) southwest of Flores in the western Azores, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Lorenzo was moving north-northeast at approximately 35 kph (22 mph) and had maximum sustained winds of 155 kph with higher gusts. The storm is expected to bring hurricane conditions to the Azores by 2 October.
Currently, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for Flores, Corvo, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for São Miguel and Santa Maria. The storm is expected to produce approximately 25-55 mm (1-2 in) of rain on western parts of the Azores and is projected to move over central Azores on 2 and 3 October while producing 25 mm of rain. The rainfall could cause hazardous flooding in the area.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): Protesters in the Catalonia region plan to gather at a number of locations throughout the day on 1 October 2019 to mark the second anniversary of the independence referendum. In Girona, several hundred protesters gathered in the morning, blocked roads and threw projectiles at police officers. Police officers did not conduct any arrests during the protest in Girona. A larger demonstration is planned to occur in Barcelona later in the evening. A large security presence is expected throughout the city, particularly near train stations and transportation hubs.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 30 September 2019, reports emerged that Somalia-based al-Shabab militants have threatened to carry out attacks at several prominent sites along Kenya’s southern coast, including beaches and hotels in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties. In Mombasa, targets reportedly also include Moi International Airport (HKMO/MBA), the Standard Gauge Railway terminus and the headquarters of the Kenya Ports Authority. Security personnel are on high alert in response to the threat. Moreover, on the morning of 1 October, Kenyan police officers conducted a counterterrorism operation in Likoni, located in Mombasa county, in response to the intelligence. Security personnel killed at least three suspected al-Shabab militants and arrested seven others during the raid. Officers also seized a large cache of weapons, including military-grade firearms, ammunition and several knives. The alleged militants were also in possession of religious materials and police uniforms. Travelers and expatriates in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale should expect increased security in light of the threat.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bahamas (Security threat level – 2): On 1 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Bahamas, which reads in part as follows: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. However, travel to other islands of The Bahamas is unaffected.”

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 1 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows: “Location: Nationwide

“Since September 24, political demonstrations have occurred in various cities Indonesia-wide. These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue. Most of the protests have been organized outside of government buildings, but some have spilled over into residential, public, and retail areas.

“While these protests have generally been peaceful, there have been confrontations between protest groups and the police. Most of the violence has taken place during the nighttime. Protesters have set fires and thrown Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and rocks. Police have responded with crowd control measures such as tear gas and water cannons.”

Malawi (Security threat level – 3): On 30 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Lilongwe
“Event: Demonstrations are planned in Lilongwe on October 1, 2019. The demonstration will begin at Lilongwe Community Ground, then proceed down the M1, then on to Kamuzu Procession Road and into Chilambula Road, then back to the M1 to the Area 18 roundabout to Presidential Way and end at Capital Hill. If you are outside of Lilongwe, please exercise caution, since demonstrations may erupt in other cities across the country. The U.S. Embassy is scheduled to remain open for normal operations.
“The Human Rights Defenders Coalition has called for mass demonstrations to continue until the Malawi Electoral Commission Chair, Jane Ansah, resigns. Looting and vandalism have occurred during recent demonstrations throughout Malawi’s major cities.”

Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 30 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Eastern Area of Sabah State

“Issue: Potential for kidnappings

“The Embassy would like to remind U.S. Citizens that there is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom from both terrorist and criminal groups. These groups may attack with little to no warning targeting coastal resorts, island resorts, and boats ferrying tourists to resort islands.

“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in eastern Sabah. U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to parts of eastern Sabah.”

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 1 October 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows: “Location: Gaddafi Stadium and surrounding areas, Lahore, Pakistan

“Event: Cricket matches between the Pakistani and Sri Lankan national teams will take place at Gaddafi Stadium on October 5, 7, and 9, 2019. The events will result in widespread, significant traffic disruptions, including in the area of the U.S. Consulate General, caused by blocked streets, security checkpoints, and a potential influx of fans wanting to see the matches.

“U.S. government personnel are advised to limit their movements in the city during this period.”

Peru (Security threat level – 3):
On 1 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Lima issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: 

“Location: Lima, Peru
“Event: The Embassy is aware of the possibility of demonstrations throughout the country and is monitoring the situation. Demonstrations last night were largely peaceful. Access to certain areas may be restricted and there may be a greater police presence. Even nominally peaceful demonstrations and large gatherings have the potential to become unruly without warning.” 

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 1 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Tanzania, which reads in part as follows: “A person has died in Tanzania in September 2019. It appears probable that this is an Ebola-related death. The WHO continues to investigate and has issued a statement . The British High Commission in Dar es Salaam is in contact with Tanzanian authorities and international health organizations, and this travel advice will be updated as new information becomes available. You should keep up to date with developments on the National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO websites.”