Worldview Weekly Security Overview – April 11, 2019
11-Apr-19
Monday 08 April 2019:

Libya (Security threat level – 5): On 8 April 2019, the Libyan National Army (LNA) militia group conducted airstrikes targeting Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport (HLLM/MJI). Preliminary reports indicate that the area around the facility is under heavy bombardment; there is no information available regarding damage to the facility at this time. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the LNA stated that the group has imposed a no-fly zone over western Libya, which includes civilian aircraft, until further notice.
Meanwhile, on 7 April, the U.S. Africa Command announced that it has evacuated some U.S. forces from Libya, citing “increased unrest” and overall declining security conditions. Authorities did not provide further details regarding the number of U.S. forces involved or where they will be redeployed.

The Indian government made a similar announcement, indicating that it had begun to evacuate and relocate its entire contingent of peacekeepers in Libya to Tunisia. Meanwhile, the U.N. Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) called for a truce in southern Tripoli from 1600 to 1800 local time (1400 to 1600 UTC) in order to evacuate injured civilians from the area. No ceasefire was implemented and the fighting continued.

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 April 2019, thousands of people continued to participate in anti-government protests outside the Defense Ministry and presidential residence in Khartoum for the third consecutive day. Security forces arrived and fired tear gas at the crowds, who refused to leave. Reports from the scene indicate that military forces guarding the Defense Ministry opened fire on the security forces who arrived at the scene in an effort to protect demonstrators; at least one Sudanese soldier was killed in the exchange of fire, but there were no reports of civilian casualties. Similar sit-in protests occurred outside major government buildings in Khartoum on 6 and 7 April, accompanied by a similarly heavy-handed police response; however, there were no reports of casualties during these protests.

Wednesday 10 April 2019:

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 10 April 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Sudan, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Reconsider travel to Sudan due to terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • “Do Not Travel to:
  • “The Darfur region, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan state due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
  • “Terrorist groups continue to pose a threat in Sudan. Terrorist groups in Sudan may harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities, and areas frequented by Westerners.
  • “There is a national state of emergency in effect across Sudan, which gives security forces greater arrest and incarceration powers. Security forces have enhanced authority to detain and arrest anybody they deem to be undermining public order, including protestors or those suspected of supporting the protests. Arbitrary detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews and checkpoints on roads may be imposed with little or no warning. The Sudanese government does not recognize dual citizenship and is likely to consider U.S.-Sudanese dual citizens as Sudanese citizens only.
  • “Demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, can occur with no warning. Demonstrations, both announced and unannounced, have occurred frequently throughout Sudan since December 19, 2018. Police and other security forces may respond to public demonstrations suddenly and with violence. Demonstrations are also common before and after Friday prayers. Foreigners could be targeted in reaction to national and international events.”
  • Analyst Comment: The new Travel Advisory reflects the increased risk of civil unrest in Sudan and the institution of a state of emergency in the country.
  • Thursday 11 April 2019:

    Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 11 April 2019, President Omar al-Bashir stepped down amid ongoing anti-government protests calling for his resignation. Reports indicate that al-Bashir is under house arrest at the presidential palace in central Khartoum and security forces have raided the headquarters of the ruling Islamic Movement party. Other senior government officials have also been detained. Following the arrest, the defense minster confirmed al-Bashir’s ouster and announced that his government has been dissolved. The defense minister further stated that a military committee that will oversee a two-year transitional period to amend the constitution has been established.

    Military personnel have been deployed to key areas of the capital, including major roads and bridges. Sudanese military officials announced a nightly curfew from 2200 to 0400 local time (2000 to 0200 UTC) throughout the country for three months, along with a three-month state of emergency. The state of emergency provides security forces with expanded powers, including the ability to search buildings, restrict movement, arrest individuals, seize assets and ban unlicensed public gatherings. Operations at Khartoum International Airport (HSSS/KRT) have been suspended for 24 hours and all border crossings are closed until further notice.

    Demonstrations continued across the capital, with protesters celebrating the resignation of al-Bashir. Thousands of demonstrators are currently staging a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, as well as marches. Meanwhile, the primary opposition group, known as the Sudanese Professionals Association, issued a statement rejecting the transitional period and called on protesters to continue demonstrations.

    Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 11 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “There has been an increase in the level of reported crime against both expatriates and nationals in the Bole and Yeka hills areas of Addis Ababa. These have included robberies at knife point and the choking unconscious of victims by their attackers. You should familiarise yourself with the geography if travelling in these areas and exercise caution. If threatened, hand over your valuables without resistance. Don’t travel alone in these areas if possible.”

  • 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.