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Worldview Weekly Security Update – July 18, 2019
Monday 15 July 2019:

France (Security threat level – 3): On 14 July 2019, police officers clashed with “yellow vest” protesters on Champs-Élysées avenue following a Bastille Day military parade in Paris. Approximately 200 protesters attempted to occupy and block the avenue after authorities reopened it following the parade. Protesters also threw projectiles at police officers and set fire to trash bins. In response, police officers fired tear gas and pepper spray, forcing the protesters to retreat to side streets and erect new roadblocks. Police officers restored order later that evening and arrested more than 150 people. There were no reports of injuries.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 14 July 2019, Congolese health officials announced the first confirmed case of Ebola virus disease in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. The patient tested positive for the virus after arriving at an Ebola center in the city by bus from Butembo — located approximately 200 km (125 mi) north of Goma — earlier that day. Health authorities have identified and tracked all other passengers on the bus; the passengers and bus driver will be vaccinated on 15 July. The Congolese Ministry of Health stated that the risk of the disease spreading to the rest of Goma is low due to the speed at which the case was identified and isolated, as well as the identification of the other passengers on the bus. Goma is a major commercial hub located on the Rwandan border; authorities first launched activities to prepare for a potential outbreak in the city in November 2018.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 12 July 2019, militants stormed the Asasey Hotel in the port city of Kismayo, in Somalia’s autonomous Jubaland region. A suicide bomber first rammed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) into the facility, after which three militants entered the hotel firing guns. An 11-hour siege ensued. The attackers killed 26 people, including foreign nationals from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and injured at least 56 others. The al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. This is the deadliest attack in Kismayo since al-Shabab was driven out of the city in 2012.

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 12 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • Location: Countrywide
  • Event: The U.S. Mission in Nigeria advises U.S. citizens that large demonstrations by protesters affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria are expected in the coming days throughout the country, including Abuja and Lagos. Protests by this group in the Nigerian capital on July 9 became violent, including exchanges of gunfire between protestors and Nigerian Police, resulting in a couple of deaths. The U.S. Mission advises its citizens to avoid these demonstrations and remain in safe areas during these periods.
  • Tuesday 16 July 2019:

    Nigeria / Ghana (Security threat levels – 5 / 3): On the morning of 16 July 2019, armed pirates attacked a Turkish-flagged cargo vessel approximately 230 km (124 mi) off the coast of Brass, Nigeria, and took 10 Turkish nationals hostage. During the attack, the pirates boarded the vessel, damaged the communications and navigation equipment and took the sailors hostage. Reports indicate that the attackers left an additional eight crew members onboard the vessel unharmed and no casualties were reported. The ship has reportedly entered Ghana’s territorial waters and attempts to communicate with the pirates to secure the crew members’ release are ongoing. The vessel was traveling from Douala, Cameroon, to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, at the time of the attack. Piracy and kidnapping for ransom at sea are prominent security concerns in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Wednesday 17 July 2019:

    Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 17 July 2019, unidentified gunmen attacked a group of Turkish diplomatic personnel at the Haqqabaz restaurant, located in Erbil’s Ankawa neighborhood. Reports indicate that three Turkish personnel — including the deputy consul general — were killed in the attack. Security forces continue to search for the assailants. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Thursday 18 July 2019:

    Puerto Rico (Security threat level – 2): On 17 July 2019, thousands of protesters marched in San Juan to call for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. Demonstrators gathered outside the capitol building and the governor’s residence throughout the evening and clashed with police officers on two occasions. Protesters first clashed with security personnel at approximately 2330 local time (0330 UTC on 18 July), when a group of demonstrators broke through a police cordon outside the governor’s residence. Police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters, who threw various objects — including firecrackers — at police officers. Security personnel and demonstrators clashed for a second time at approximately 0100 when protesters attempted to march to Calle Fortaleza. Sixteen people were injured, including four police officers. Additionally, police officers arrested seven people. Protests have broken out across Puerto Rico since 13 July in response to the leak of private chat conversations between Rosselló and his Cabinet that contained profanities and derogatory comments about various officials and critics of the administration.

    Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 18 July 2019, militants detonated a car bomb outside the police headquarters in Kandahar. Gunmen have entered the surrounding buildings and a gunfight between security forces and the militants is ongoing. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 17 July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).” A WHO official stated that the declaration should not prompt the implementation of restrictions on trade or travel, and that authorities should not begin to screen passengers at airports or other ports of entry outside the immediate region. WHO voted to declare the epidemic a global health emergency following the detection of the first Ebola case in Goma, a major commercial and transport hub. At least 1,600 people have died in the outbreak, which began in August 2018.

    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.