Our Global Risk partners, Drum Cussac, provide in-depth analysis of global risks via in-house experts, cutting edge technology and through a comprehensive global source network. Here is your summary of the incidents you need to know about from the last 30 days.
Students and Teachers Abducted at a School in Kumbo
Unknown gunmen reportedly assaulted a school in Kumbo, North West region, on the morning of Saturday, 16 February, kidnapping a large number of students and teachers. Reports vary, though as many as 200 people may have been abducted. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though separatist groups have previously demanded the closure of all schools. Cameroon’s English-speaking North West and South West regions remain tense due to an ongoing separatist movement and conflict between armed groups and the government. Strikes, unrest, and violence have been common since November 2016 and have escalated since October 2017 following a unilateral proclamation of independence.
MSA Casualties Reported after IED Blast in Talataye, Gao Region
Reports indicate that one Azawad Salvation Movement (MSA) fighter has been killed and three others injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) was triggered by their vehicle in Talataye, Gao region. The identity of the perpetrators has not yet been disclosed, but elements of the Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) are known to operate in the area. Further news is awaited.
Three Explosions Reported in Mogadishu
Three explosions have occurred in Mogadishu, Somalia. A car fitted with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated at Zoobe junction which reportedly targeted a government official and an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy travelling in Hiliwa district was hit by two landmines. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks and while initial reports suggest that there have been some casualties, no figures have been reported as of yet. Additionally there have also been reports of a mortar attack by al-Shabaab militants on AMISOM’s base in Hiiraan region.
Rescue Operations Begin At Illegal Mine near Battlefields; Dozens Believed to be Dead
Rescue operations have begun at the illegal mines of Silver Moon mine and Cricket Mine, both near Battlefields, some 175km (108miles) from Harare, following the flooding of several mine shafts. While the original estimated figure of fatalities was at least 38 people, it is now believed this could rise to at least 50 people. Miners have been trapped in the illegal gold mine since Tuesday, 12 February, after a nearby dam burst caused the shafts they were working in to flood.
Reports of Violent Protest Outside National Palace in Port-au-Prince; Unconfirmed Reports of Shots being Fired by Police
Social media feeds and images highlight a violent protest outside the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. Unconfirmed reports state that police outside the palace fired at protestors with live fire, with some sources stated that at least two people have died from gunshot wounds. The reports also show more protests have erupted across Haiti in opposition to the current president’s reign, in what appears to be an increasingly violent nationwide movement. Images appear to show mass gatherings and multiple cars and tyre walls set ablaze. Further news is awaited.
Fatalities Reported after Polar Vortices Hits the Midwest
Multiple fatalities occurred after abnormally cold polar vortices hit across the United States Midwest. Temperatures dropped as low as -45 degrees Celsius (-50 Fahrenheit) in areas such as Norris Camp, Minnesota, while areas such as Chicago dropped to similar temperatures. Further to the low temperatures, cold winds also caused disruption throughout the Midwest. The National Weather Service (NWS) described the temperatures as life-threatening, and the coldest in modern times. The polar vortices have also severely disrupted infrastructure across the region, as schools and government buildings have shut, while more than 3,000 flights were cancelled and train stations were closed.
President Declares State of Catastrophe From Ongoing Wildfires; International Air Tanker En Route.
President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of catastrophe in some regions due to the numerous wildfires currently burning in areas across Chile. A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 air tanker was dispatched from San Bernardino, California and is working for the National Forest Corporation (CONAF), a Chilean private, non-profit organisation through which the country contributes to the development and sustainable management of the country’s forest resources. The most affected regions are La Araucania, Bio Bio, Los Rios, and Los Lagos. According to forestry officials, more than 8,000 hectares (19,000 acres) of forests and pastures have been burned by the fires with dozens of homes destroyed and hundreds of people evacuated.
Middle East and North Africa
Multiple Fatalities and Injuries Following Car Bomb Detonations in Idlib
Multiple explosions have occurred in the Al-Qusour area of Idlib, Syria. Media sources claim that at least 15 people have been killed and dozens injured after at least two apparent vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) exploded. According to some sources, one explosion targeted a local courthouse and another explosion occurred when rescue teams arrived on scene to attend the wounded from the initial explosion. Local hospitals are requesting immediate blood donations due to the number of injured and the severity of their injuries.
Many Casualties Reported Following Suicide Attack in Market in Mocha, Taiz Governorate
At least 17 people were injured when a suicide attacker detonated an explosive in a market in Mocha, Taiz Governorate. Reports state that the attack occurred close to the eastern entrance of the market and damaged vehicles in the area. Firefighters and ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion and transported the wounded to area hospitals.
Reports of Fatalities Following Explosion in As-Salt, Balqa Governorate
At least one person was killed and six more injured following the explosion near the town of As-Salt in the Balqa Governorate. Reportedly the explosion was caused by a landmine. Some of those injured were reported to be members of the security forces. Local security forces are currently conducting operations in the area. It must also be noted that Islamist militants are known to operate in the vicinity of As-Salt.
Dozens Arrested in Suspected Terrorism Financing Ring
Special police forces have arrested 43 people in coordinated raids on a suspected terrorism financing ring. Bulgarian prosecutors have charged five Syrian citizens and a Bulgarian woman alleged to be members of a crime group which has sent more than 25 million euros (£22 million) to foreign terrorist organisations since 2016. According to a spokesperson with the chief prosecutor’s office, one of the six accused, who were all residents of Bulgaria, had been indicted in absentia and an international arrest warrant issued for him. The crime group had reportedly been operating in Bulgaria since 2016 and had indirectly financed a terrorist organisation operating in another country, which was not named.
Multiple Fatalities Reported as Measles Outbreak Continues to Spread Nationwide
Eight people have died in an ongoing measles outbreak since the beginning of the year with more than 3,100 reported cases in the past two weeks alone. Most of those affected by the virus have been children who have been the most affected due to believed vaccine refusal by parents and a temporary breakdown in vaccine orders by the government a few years ago. The World Health Organization’s data shows that Ukraine logged 53,000 confirmed cases of measles last year, accounting for more than half of all cases in Europe.
Security Alert in Place after Abandoned Hijacked Van with Suspicious Device Found in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Police cordons were put in place after a previously hijacked van with a suspicious device inside was abandoned in the Circular Road area of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The van was reportedly hijacked by three masked men who threw an object in it before abandoning it. Significant disruption to local community traffic is expected as police investigations are ongoing.
Asia and the Pacific
Fatalities Reported following Explosions in Jolo, Sulu Province
At least 15 people have been killed after two explosions, suspected to be the result of the detonation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), occurred at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu province. At least seven others have been injured by the blast, which targeted a mixed group of government soldiers and civilians. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at this time. The Abu Sayyaf militant group which has carried out a series of bombing attacks in the past, is known to be active on Jolo island.
Australian Government Issues ‘Pre-Alert’ for New Caledonia Regarding Tropical Cyclone Oma
The Australian Government’s ‘Smart Traveller’ service has issued a countrywide ‘pre-alert’ for the forecasted effects of Tropical Cyclone Oma. Meteorological experts are forecasting that while Oma will not directly hit New Caledonia, the tropical storm will pass dangerously close. Oma is currently recorded as a category three tropical cyclone (on the Fiji scale), with sustained winds of 120 km/h (75mph). This is the equivalent to a category one Atlantic hurricane. While the heaviest of the rains are expected to remain off the northern coast, there is the potential for localized flooding, mudslides and possible wind damage and power outages. As the week continues, Oma could strengthen to a Category three severe tropical cyclone, the equivalent to a category two hurricane. Due to this, by Monday, 18 and Tuesday, 19 February, wind gusts of up to 130 km/h (80mph) could be experienced in Grand Terre, along with possible flash flooding and wind damage. Residents of Grand Terre, Poum, Tiabet and Ouegoa have been warned to prepare for prolonged power outages.
Multiple Indian Soldiers Dead following Gun battle in Kashmir
At least four soldiers belonging to the Indian military, and at least one civilian, have died following a gun battle on the streets of disputed Kashmir. The firefight occurred after the Indian security forces were allegedly undergoing an operation to arrest members of a militant group, that killed 44 Indian paramilitaries in an attack last week. The incident took place in Pinglan Village in Kashmir’s Pulwama District, the same location of the suicide attack on Thursday, 14 February.
Global Risk Roundup – March 2019
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