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Worldview Weekly Security Update – June 13, 2019
Monday 10 June 2019:

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): As planned, thousands of Haitians staged a protest march in the capital Port-au-Prince on 9 June 2019. Protesters burned tires, erected barricades and set ablaze two police cars and two buildings. Clashes between protesters and security forces also took place near the Presidential Palace, where police officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. At least two people were killed during the demonstration and authorities arrested 12 participants. Several opposition and civil society groups organized the march to renew their calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s resignation amid widespread corruption allegations against his administration.

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): As of 10 June 2019, opposition protesters are continuing an indefinite nationwide civil disobedience campaign that began on the previous day. The majority of private banks, businesses and markets in the capital Khartoum are closed and public transportation remains limited. Some state banks, public utility service offices in Khartoum and Khartoum International Airport (HSSS/KRT) remain open; however, reports indicate that some airport workers and Sudanese pilots are participating in the strike. Similar disruptions are occurring in other Sudanese cities, including al-Madani, located southeast of Khartoum, and al-Ubayd, located approximately 400 km (250 mi) southwest of Khartoum.

Reports indicate that Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are deployed throughout Khartoum, and have taken control of key infrastructure, including Khartoum’s main power plant. In addition, officials have reportedly shut down the internet across the country.

On 9 June, demonstrators erected roadblocks in the Khartoum metropolitan area in accompaniment with the strike. Police officers in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse protesters who attempted to erect barricades. According to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee, at least four protesters were killed throughout the day on 9 June, including two in Khartoum and two in Omdurman.

Tuesday 11 June 2019:

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): The Platform for the Defense of Health and Education has called on its supporters to resume nationwide demonstrations beginning at 0700 local time (1300 UTC) on 11 June 2019. In the capital Tegucigalpa, protesting teachers and health care workers plan to gather in the La Granja neighborhood at 1300 local time. Elsewhere in the capital, students at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) and the National Pedagogical University of Francisco Morazán (UPNFM) have closed their campuses for the day in support of the planned protests. As of this writing, no reports of protest actions have emerged from elsewhere in Honduras; however, street protests are highly likely to occur later in the day. There is also a high probability of clashes between protesters and police officers, as the government has pledged to maintain law and order. Teachers and health care workers in the country have been observing a strike for the past five weeks in protest of proposed government reforms, which allegedly privatize the health care and education sectors.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 11 June 2019, demonstrations took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the second consecutive day over critical remarks made against President Félix Tshisekedi at a recent National Assembly meeting. In Lubumbashi, police officers fired tear gas at Tshisekedi supporters, who attempted to storm the offices of former President Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). Elsewhere in the city, demonstrators burned tires on the Boulevard du 30 juin and outside the Haut Katanga Provincial Assembly. In Kinshasa, approximately 20 activists gathered in the vicinity of the Palais du Peuple, the seat of the National Assembly. A large number of security personnel were deployed around the building in anticipation of the demonstration, but there were no reports of violence. The previous day, hundreds of stone-throwing protesters had attempted to storm the Palais du Peuple, prompting police officers to fire tear gas and arrest one person.

Meanwhile, on 10 June, supporters of opposition leader Moise Katumbi held a violent demonstration in Goma to protest the cancellation of his planned visit to the city. The protesters, who had gathered at Goma International Airport (FZNA/GOM) to welcome Katumbi, used stones to block roads and also vandalized private vehicles in the vicinity of the facility. Security personnel dispersed the protesters. This is the second time Katumbi’s visit to the city has been postponed.

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): As of 1030 local time (0730 UTC) on 11 June 2019, Ethiopian authorities have blocked access to social media platforms nationwide. While authorities have not given an official explanation for the social media shutdown, it is possible that the action is an attempt to prevent cheating during the second day of national secondary school final exams. Ethiopia blocked internet access during final exams to prevent cheating in 2017.

Wednesday 12 June 2019:

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 12 June 2019, Houthi forces carried out an attack on Abha International Airport (OEAB/AHB), located approximately 830 km (515 mi) southwest of Riyadh and about 100 km north of the Yemeni border. Saudi officials stated that a projectile struck the airport’s arrivals hall. According to Saudi authorities, 26 people of various nationalities were injured in the attack, eight of whom were admitted to a hospital. At approximately 1300 local time (1000 UTC), airport officials announced that flight operations at the facility are proceeding normally. The Saudi-led coalition confirmed the attack several hours after reports by the Houthi-controlled Al-Masirah TV that Houthi forces had launched a cruise missile at Abha International Airport.

Analyst Comment: Houthi militia forces have targeted aviation facilities in Saudi Arabia in the past. For example, on 11 June, Saudi air defenses intercepted two Houthi drones targeting King Khalid military airbase (OEKM/KMX), located near the city of Khamis Mushait. Saudi officials stated that they were investigating the projectile used in the attack.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 12 June 2019, demonstrations continued in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the third consecutive day over critical remarks made against President Félix Tshisekedi at a recent National Assembly meeting. In Kinshasa, police officers in the Limete municipality fired tear gas at Tshisekedi supporters who vandalized the headquarters of the Congolese National Congress (CNC) party, located on Boulevard Lumumba. Police officers arrested four protesters. Elsewhere in the capital, supporters of Tshisekedi and supporters of former President Joseph Kabila threw stones at each other at the intersection of Boulevard Sendwe and Avenue Kasa-vubu near the Palais du Peuple in the Kalamu commune. Police officers fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse the crowd; there were reports of property damage, but no injuries. Elsewhere in the country, Tshisekedi supporters held a peaceful demonstration in Kisangani (Tshopo province) and Lubumbashi (Haut-Katanga province).

Uganda (Security threat level – 4): On 12 June 2019, heath officials announced the death of a patient who tested positive for Ebola virus in Uganda’s western Kasese district. The patient marks the first transnational Ebola case since health officials declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where 1,400 confirmed and probable Ebola-related deaths have occurred since August 2018. The patient’s sibling and grandmother also tested positive for the virus and are in isolation at the Bwera Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit. On 14 June Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) will begin vaccinating all persons who came in contact with the Ebola patients and frontline health workers.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 11 June 2019, the U.S. Department of State updated its Travel Advisory for Haiti and lowered its level of advice to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” The advisory reads in part as follows:

  • Reconsider travel to Haiti due to crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
  • Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common, and incidents of kidnapping have occurred. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.
  • Travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. The U.S. Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport, and it takes steps to detect surveillance and deter criminal attacks during these transports.
  • Thursday 13 June 2019:

    China (Security threat level – 3): On 13 June 2019, approximately 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Legislative Council building in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong’s Central district to protest against a proposed extradition bill. A few minor confrontations between protesters and police officers occurred in some areas, but the demonstration was largely peaceful. A large deployment of police officers remained throughout the area to block walkways and check identity cards. Government offices and several businesses in the vicinity of the protests announced closures through the end of the week. The Legislative Council also postponed planned debates on the bill scheduled for 13 and 14 June, but did not announce a new date for the debates. Approximately 80 people were injured during clashes between protesters and police officers on 12 June, and at least 11 people were arrested.

    Roads around the Legislative Council complex were largely open for motorists. However, minor protest-related incidents affected some rail services at MTR stations after demonstrators deliberately attempted to prevent trains from leaving by obstructing doors when trains stopped at stations. A rail official stated that at least 20 incidents were recorded, which resulted in delays of 20 minutes. The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized a large-scale rally on 9 June, announced that it plans to hold another protest on 16 June.

    United Arab Emirates / Oman / Iran (Security threat levels – 2 / 2 / 3): On 13 June 2019, two suspected attacks targeted two oil tankers while they were transiting the Gulf of Oman. One of the tankers — a Panamanian-flagged vessel — was carrying methanol from a port in Saudi Arabia to Singapore. The other tanker — a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel — was carrying naptha from a port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Taiwan. The vessels sustained significant damage but did not sink. All 44 crew members onboard the vessels were safely evacuated; reports indicate Iranian search and rescue crews transported the crew members to the Iranian port of Jask. The perpetrator of the suspected attacks remains unknown and maritime officials are investigating the incidents. In response to the suspected attacks, Norwegian authorities warned commercial carriers to maintain a safe distance from the Iranian coast

    Analyst Comment: Initial reporting on the suspected attacks indicates they are consistent with earlier maritime attacks off the coast of Fujairah, UAE, which occurred on 12 May 2019, and involved magnetic mines. Maritime operators in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman should monitor the situation closely and report suspicious activity to authorities.

    Cameroon (Security threat level – 4): On 12 June 2019, authorities reported that at least 300 suspected Islamist militants attacked several Cameroonian military outposts on the island of Darak, located on Lake Chad in northern Cameroon, on 9 June. Security forces and militants exchanged gunfire for several hours; at least 88 people were killed during the exchange, including eight civilians, 16 Cameroonian soldiers and at least 64 suspected militants. Security forces detained at least eight militants and are working to locate other suspects. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Boko Haram militants based in northeast Nigeria have conducted numerous cross-border raids into Chad and Cameroon in the past. Military sources stated that the latest attack is one of Boko Haram’s most deadly attacks in Cameroon in recent years.

    Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): Emerging reports on 13 June 2019 indicate that two separate ongoing protests — one in the capital Kinshasa and the other in Kisangani, located in the northeastern Tshopo province — have turned violent. In Kinshasa, anti-government demonstrators burned tires and blocked roads near the constitutional court building, which is situated in the Gombe district. The latest reports indicate that the number of protesters is growing. On the previous day, the opposition Lamuka coalition called for peaceful demonstrations to protest against a constitutional court decision to invalidate the mandates of several opposition parliament members.

    Separately, another protest is currently underway in Kisangani. Demonstrators have blocked major thoroughfares in the city. Security personnel are at the scene but have been unable to disperse the crowd, as of last report. At least four people in Kisangani have been killed and two others suffered gunshot wounds during the ongoing unrest. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the killing of a local civilian by a soldier.

    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.