Worldview Weekly Security Overview – March 21, 2019
21-Mar-19
Monday 18 March 2019:

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1045 local time (0945 UTC) on 18 March 2019, a man opened fire inside a tram in the city of Utrecht and then fled the scene. The incident took place near the 24th of October Square, which has been cordoned off. At least three people were killed and nine others were wounded, as of the most recent reports. Emergency personnel are at the scene and authorities have asked the public to stay away to allow first responders to do their job. As of this writing, there are reports that authorities have surrounded an apartment block near the tram shooting; it is currently unknown whether the attacker — who remains at large — is inside. Authorities have stepped up security at schools, mosques, government buildings and transportation hubs in Utrecht, as well as in other cities nationwide. All trains and trams in Utrecht have been canceled, and authorities have advised those in the city to not travel unless necessary.
Utrecht police authorities are investigating the shooting as a possible terrorist incident; no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities have raised the terrorism threat level in the province of Utrecht to “critical,” the highest on the Netherlands’ five-tier scale, until at least 1800 local time. The rest of the country remains at a “substantial” threat level, the second highest level on the terrorism scale. Germany has increased surveillance along the country’s border with the Netherlands, including along major highways, smaller crossings and railroad routes, in light of the incident.

Wednesday 20 March 2019:

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 19 March 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Nigeria, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections took place on 9 March 2019. Tensions remain high, particularly in those states which face a partial re-run of the elections on Saturday 23 March: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto. Curfews, state-wide or localised, are likely in these states on the day of the re-run elections – you should monitor local media for updates. Some of the national and state election results will be disputed and legal challenges may begin. Consequently tensions will continue to run high across Nigeria for some time and public gatherings and demonstrations may take place at short notice and have the potential to turn violent. You should continue to avoid rallies, public gatherings and demonstrations and monitor local media.”
  • Thursday 21 March 2019:

    Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 21 March 2019, three remote-controlled explosive devices detonated near Kabul’s Kart-e-Sakhi shrine, where crowds had gathered to mark Nowruz, the Persian New Year. At least six people were killed and 23 were injured in the attack. A fourth explosive device was found and defused close to nearby Kabul University. Authorities have arrested one person in connection to the blasts. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack; the Taliban publicly denied responsibility.