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Worldview Security Update – October 9, 2019
9-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): A large-scale protest led by indigenous groups is expected to take place in Quito on 9 October 2019. In addition, indigenous groups, labor unions and social organizations plan to embark on a national strike. In Quito, demonstrations are expected to concentrate in and around the historic center. At present, members of the Unitary Front of Workers labor union plan to gather on Quito Avenue at 0900 local time (1400 UTC). Road closures have been reported along Venezuela road, as well as at the intersections of Guayaquil and Olmedo, Venezuela and Olmedo, Montufar and Manabi, Garcia Moreno and Olmedo, and Olmedo and Benalcázar roads. Meanwhile, counter-protesters plan to rally in downtown Guayaquil. Authorities partially restricted access on the National Unity Bridge near Guayaquil early on 9 October, citing security reasons. Roadblocks remain in place in towns and cities across the country. 

On the previous evening, President Lenín Moreno imposed a curfew between the hours of 2000 and 0500 local time (0100-1000 UTC) near strategic government buildings in response to ongoing protest activities. Clashes continued across Ecuador on 8 October, as protesters wearing masks and brandishing sticks threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas. Additionally, thousands of protesters converged in Quito, where they broke through a fence and briefly entered the perimeter of the National Assembly. However, police officers quickly regained control of the facility. Protesters also seized power and water plants in Ambato — which supply power to Ambato, Apatug and Tilulún — and cut off the supply of power and water to several areas of the city.

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 9 October 2019, Super Typhoon Hagibis was located approximately 480 km (300 mi) south-southwest of Iwo Jima, Japan, and was moving north-northwest at 18 kph (12 mph). At that time, Hagibis was generating maximum sustained winds of 260 kph with gusts of up to 314 kph. On its current track, Hagibis is forecast to make landfall on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture by 12 October. The storm is projected to produce high waves in Okinawa and the Ogasawara Islands, located south of Tokyo, through 9 and 10 October. Although Hagibis is expected to weaken slightly as it approaches Japan, the storm is projected to bring heavy rains and strong winds to Honshu island.

EUROPE

Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 9 October 2019, a gunman opened fire on people near a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle. Police officers detained one suspect and are currently searching for others. Authorities shut down the main rail station and have warned residents to remain indoors or find a secure location as police officers search for additional gunmen. At least two people were killed and two more were injured in the attack. Police officers are investigating to determine a possible motive for the attack and have not confirmed whether the shooting was directed at the synagogue.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): Extinction Rebellion climate activists announced that they intend to shut down London City Airport (EGLC/LCY) for three days beginning on 10 October 2019. The shutdown is set to begin at 0900 local time (0800 UTC); protesters have announced plans to conduct a sit-in at the departure and arrival gates. Protest leaders have encouraged demonstrators to purchase tickets for flights in order to circumvent police checks. Airport officials announced preparations to minimize disruptions, and a heightened security presence is expected throughout the day.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Syria / Turkey (Security threat levels – 5 / 4): On 9 October 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the commencement of Turkish military operations in northeastern Syria, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring.” Shortly after the announcement, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces stated that Turkish airstrikes were targeting “civilian areas” in northern Syria. Erdogan stated that the objective of the operation is to destroy what he referred to as a “terrorist corridor” in the region, which includes threats from the Islamic State (IS) and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces known as the YPG. Erdogan stated that Turkish troops are conducting the operation in conjunction with Syrian rebel forces.

Erdogan’s announcement coincided with reports of Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish targets in and around the town of Ras al-Ayn, located along the Syrian border with Turkey. A spokesperson for Kurdish forces stated that the strikes targeted civilian areas; there were no immediate reports of casualties. In addition, reports have emerged of Turkish ground forces conducting initial operations in the area in preparation for larger military actions.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Malawi (Security threat level – 3): On 8 October 2019, dozens of protesters clashed with police officers in Msundwe, located approximately 35 km (22 mi) west of the capital Lilongwe. The protesters attempted to block Mchinji-Lilongwe road to prevent supporters of President Peter Mutharika from traveling to a rally that the leader was attending in Lilongwe’s Kawale township that afternoon. Police officers fired tear gas at the protesters, who threw stones and physically assaulted police officers. One police officer was killed and at least 12 protesters were arrested during the violence. Opposition leaders had previously called on Mutharika to cancel the rally — his first since being reelected in May 2019 — in light of the opposition’s continued rejection of the election results.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 9 October 2019, officials at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport (HCMM/ MGQ) temporarily closed the airport’s single runway after a cargo aircraft conducted a hard landing. Reports indicate the aircraft experienced landing gear failure and conducted a belly landing. There were no reports of casualties in the incident. Normal flight operations are now resuming.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3):

On 8 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in La Paz issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: 

“Location:  La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosi

“Event:  Bolivian civic groups have announced plans for a civic rally in Potosí on October 9 and in La Paz and Cochabamba on October 10, 2019. The demonstrations will be centered in city squares, the expected size and duration of the demonstrations is unknown.” 

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 9 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert regarding the State of Siege, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: 20 municipalities in Guatemala

"Event: The Government of Guatemala has announced that the State of Siege continues in all of the municipalities listed below. Municipalities no longer subject to the State of Siege include Nahualá and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán in the department of Sololá, and Puerto Barrios and Livingston in the Department of Izabal. Embassy operations are normal.

"With the possibility of an expansion of the State of Siege, U.S. Embassy will maintain the current list of off-limit areas for Embassy personnel, which includes the two previously mentioned municipalities in Sololá, as well as Puerto Barrios and Livingston in Izabal. The original 20 municipalities include:

  • San Luis, Petén
  • Nuevo Chahal
  • Fray Bartolomé de las Casas
  • Cahabón
  • Senahú Santa Catalina la Tinta
  • Tamahú, Alta Verapaz
  • Tactic
  • Tucurú, Alta Verapaz
  • San Agustín Acasaguastlán
  • Panzós
  • Río Hondo
  • Teculután
  • Usumatlán
  • San Cristobal Acasaguastlán
  • Gualán
  • El Estor
  • Los Amates
  • Morales
  • Purulhá

"In addition to the expansion of the State of Siege listed above, the U.S. Embassy will still include the two previously mentioned municipalities in Solola, as well as Puerto Barrios and Livingston in Izabal as off-limit areas."

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 9 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Rome, at Piazza Barberini

“Event: A protest of 50-80 representatives from the Kurdish community are planning to gather at Piazza Barberini today from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Police will be present for crowd control.”

Namibia (Security threat level – 2): On 8 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Kunene and Zambezi regions

“Event: Reports of Suspected Anthrax in Livestock, Wildlife and Humans

“The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid all contact with dead animals in the wild, particularly following reports of suspected anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) in livestock, wildlife, and humans in the Kunene and Zambezi Regions. Bacillus anthracis is a naturally occurring bacteria that is present in Namibia. In previous seasonal outbreaks, the Namibian government has advised not to touch or eat meat from dead animals found in the wild.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that people become infected with anthrax when spores enter the body. Anthrax is not contagious.

“Actions to take:

  • The CDC advises against working with infected animals or animal products (including hides) and eating raw or undercooked meat from infected animals.
  • For more information about anthrax, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website .
  • To obtain CDC travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website .”

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 9 October 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued a Health Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Philippines

“Event: Health officials have reported an outbreak of polio in the Philippines.

“Actions to Take:

  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the Philippines be fully vaccinated against polio.
  • Before traveling to the Philippines, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine.
  • Read the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) Polio in the Philippines webpage: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/polio-philippines .”

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