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Worldview Weekly Security Update – May 31, 2019
Tuesday 28 May 2019:

Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 26 May 2019, three separate explosions occurred in the capital city Kathmandu. The first blast occurred in the Sukedhara neighborhood, located in the northern part of the city. Several minutes later, a second explosion occurred inside a residence in the central Ghattekulo neighborhood. A third blast occurred several hours later in the Thankot area, located in the southwestern outskirts of the city. Authorities stated that the third explosion was likely accidental, as two individuals suspected of involvement in the attack were attempting to transport the explosive materials that detonated. Authorities secured the sites of the explosions and defused additional explosives in the Koteshwor, Satdobato, New Buspark, Gwarko and Lagankhel neighborhoods of the capital. In total, at least four people were killed and nine others were injured; authorities believe they were all Nepali nationals. Police officers arrested at least 12 suspects in connection with the attack and are reportedly maintaining a heavy presence with patrols throughout the city.

The Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal — a Maoist splinter group — claimed responsibility for the attack. Tensions between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal are currently elevated. The group, whose activities were recently banned by the Nepali government, continues to demand the government’s release of several detained party members and called for a nationwide general strike on 27 May to further pressure the government. Local reports indicated that people largely adhered to the strike. Most schools and businesses were closed, and traffic was minimal in large cities.

France (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1730 local time (1530 UTC) on 24 May 2019, a package bomb explosion occurred near the intersection of Rue Victor-Hugo and Rue Sala, located in close proximity to Place Bellecour, in Lyon’s 2nd arrondissement. At least 13 people were injured in the blast. Police officers arrested four suspects in connection with the bombing on 27 May. France’s anti-terrorism unit continues to investigate the bombing.

Malawi (Security threat level – 3): On 27 May 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Malawi, which reads in part as follows:

  • Malawi held Tripartite Elections (Presidential, Parliamentary and local council) on 21 May 2019. The official result of the Presidential Election was announced by the Malawi Election Commission on the evening of 27 May. There is a possibility of unrest in the coming days. We advise all British nationals in Malawi to avoid large crowds or demonstrations and to review local travel plans. You may also wish to stock up on petrol, food and essentials, including any medication, in case normal service provision are disrupted in the short term.
  • Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 24 May 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice for Nigeria, which reads in part as follows:

  • The formal inauguration of President Buhari will take place on Wednesday 29 May in the country’s capital, Abuja. The celebrations around his inauguration will take place on Nigeria’s Democracy Day, Wednesday 12 June. Significant traffic and airline disruption on both days are likely, particularly in Abuja. Secessionists in South East Nigeria have called on their supporters to stay at home on 30 May 2019. Previous similar protests have seen widespread closure of businesses, and there may be protests and outbreaks of violence. Be especially vigilant in Abia State, Anambra State, Ebonyi State, Enugu State, Imo State, and the cities of Asaba in Delta State and Port Harcourt in Rivers State. There may also be similar public demonstrations and protests on the days around 30 May 2019.
  • Wednesday 29 May 2019: NSTR

    Thursday 30 May 2019: NSTR

    Friday 31 May 2019:

    Honduras (Security threat level – 4) : As of 31 May 2019, the second day of a 48-hour countrywide general strike organized by teachers and healthcare workers is ongoing in Honduras. Protests and gatherings are expected to accompany the strike for a second consecutive day; daily routine activities, including transportation services, are likely to be significantly disrupted, particularly in the capital Tegucigalpa. The latest reports indicate that protesters are blocking the highway that connects the northern city of San Pedro Sula to Villanueva, Cortés. Additional roadblocks and clashes between protesters and police officers are possible in the capital and elsewhere in the country throughout the day. During the first day of the labor action on 30 May, police officers clashed with protesters who were blocking major thoroughfares in Tegucigalpa. Police officers also deployed tear gas canisters to disperse protesters outside the terminal at Toncontin International Airport (MHTG/TGU). The clashes outside the airport terminal forced the temporary suspension of flight operations after officials evacuated airport employees and travelers to the tarmac. At least 25 people were injured during the protests. The national strike is being organized to protest the government decrees that allegedly privatize healthcare and the education system in the country.

    Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 31 May 2019, a suicide car bomb struck a U.S. military convoy in Kabul’s eastern Yakatot neighborhood. At least four Afghan civilians were killed and four U.S. military members were injured in the bombing. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
    Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 30 May 2019, unidentified militants detonated six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in downtown Kirkuk city, located approximately 300 km (200 mi) north of the capital Baghdad. The attacks occurred along Quds Street near the Peace Mall, killing three people and injuring 20 others. Security forces defused two other devices that they discovered near the site of the explosions.

    Analyst Comment: While no group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, they are consistent with similar attacks by the Islamic State (IS). The attacks occurred following Iftar, when markets and central areas are usually crowded, likely in an effort to inflict a high number of casualties.