Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 05

Headlines From This Week

  • A Further Terror Attack in Kabul – A suicide bombing in Kabul killed at least 95 people on 27 January. More than 150 others were wounded as Taliban attackers drove an ambulance laden with explosives past a police checkpoint in one of the most secure areas of the Afghan capital. This comes a week after the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul was also attacked by Taliban gunmen. 
  • Dozens Feared Drowned off Libyan Coast – 90 migrants are feared dead after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast. Three survivors suggested that those who drowned were predominantly Pakistani. At least ten bodies have washed ashore in Libya at the time of writing. Overall this year, it has been reported that there have been 6,624 arrivals of migrants by sea to Europe, up from 5,983 in the same period of 2017. 
  • Mass Unrest Across Russia – Protests were recorded in at least 100 locations across Russia on 28 January as citizens, led by anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, called for a boycott of elections in March 2018. Navalny was one of more than 250 protestors who were detained by police, but he was subsequently released. 
  • Ex-Leader of Maldives to Contest Elections – Former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, is to return to the country from exile to contest elections. This comes after the Supreme Court quashed his 2015 terrorism charges as being ‘politically motivated’. The Supreme Court’s decision saw opposition supporters take to the streets in celebration; two were arrested after clashes with police. The country became a democracy in 2008 but freedoms have been restricted since President Yameen took power in 2013. Yameen’s response is unclear at this time, though Maldives police have vowed to adhere to the ruling. 
  • State of Emergency Declared in Ecuador – The Ecuadoran government declared a state of emergency in the cities of San Lorenzo and Eloy Alfaro following an improvised explosive device attack against a local police headquarters. There were no fatalities, but 14 officers were wounded, and the building was rendered unusable. Armed groups connected to drug cartels are believed to be responsible for the attack. 
  • Nairobi Opposition Protests – Following a mock inauguration ceremony on 30 January for Raila Odinga, the primary opposition presidential candidate, his supporters have launched widespread protests in predominantly opposition-supporting areas of Kenya, Nairobi especially. A number of prominent opposition leaders have also been arrested by security forces in relation to the event, and three television networks have been taken off the air by the government for attempting to televise the inauguration, further aggravating protestors.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Winter Olympics to Begin – The 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled to start in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on 09 February. While the presence of North Korea hangs over proceedings, it has athletes competing at the Games, making aggressive moves by Pyongyang unlikely. Travel disruption should be expected across South Korea. 
  • Referendum in Ecuador – On 04 February, Ecuador will go to the polls to vote on a series of constitutional amendments, one of which reinstates term limits. This would make it impossible for the populist former President Rafael Correa to return to power. Correa has led the campaign against the proposed amendments which have been promoted by President Moreno, thought by many to be Correa’s handpicked successor. It was also believed Moreno would step aside when his term ended to allow Correa to return to power. Unrest is possible during the vote period. 
  • Carnival – Carnival is celebrated across the world and marks a final major party before the Christian festival of Lent. Carnival is especially popular in the Americas. Crime rates spike in the lead up to, and during, Carnival festivities, particularly across Central and South America. The largest celebrations occur in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the 2018 Carnival begins on 09 February and ends on 14 February, the day Lent begins.

Significant Dates & Events

  • 03 February – Public transport strikes planned from Helsinki airport
  • 03 February – Anti-corruption protests scheduled in Tel Aviv
  • 04 February – American football Super Bowl in Minneapolis
  • 04 February – Costa Rican legislative and presidential elections
  • 04 February – Planned protests against Macedonia’s naming in Athens
  • 04 February – Anniversary of 1992 failed coup by Hugo Chávez (unrest a potential in Venezuela)
  • 05 February – Algerian paramedics to strike
  • 05 February – Public hospital workers strike across Haiti
  • 06-11 February – Major cycling event in Dubai
  • 09 February – Portuguese airline crew scheduled to start industrial action

Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 05 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 05 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.