Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 09

Headlines From This Week 

  • Severe Cold Weather in the UK and Europe – The United Kingdom was caught between two competing weather systems from 28 February to 02 March; winds bringing cold air from Siberia, dubbed “the beast from the east”, clashed with Storm Emma which approached from the Atlantic. Widespread disruption was reported across Europe as atypical levels of snowfall and low temperatures led to challenging conditions for travel. Numerous instances of public transport vehicles becoming stranded with passengers. Rural areas are likely to remain isolated for a number of days.
  • Student Protests in Lima – Thousands of Peruvian students took to the streets of Lima on 24 February in response to recent legislation they named the “Youth Slavery Law”. The legislation would allow companies to hire students as unpaid interns for periods of up to three years, and was approved by legislators on 21 February. Police prevented the march from approaching the parliament and used teargas to force their dispersion.
  • Insurgent Attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad – Numerous attacks were reported over the last week across the Nigeria-Cameroon border region, and in the vicinity of Lake Chad. These attacks followed the kidnap of at least 100 school girls from Nigeria’s Dapchi. The attacks have been credited to the Islamist insurgent group, Boko Haram. The motive for this spike in violence remains unclear. There have been additional reports of violence due to clashes between villagers and Fulani tribesmen in the area.
  • Curfew Imposed in the Maldives – The Maldivian government imposed a curfew from 2230hrs until sunrise across the entire archipelago. The measure is intended to prevent the small anti-government protests and political gatherings which have been increasingly frequent over the past three months, particularly since President Yameen’s recent efforts to bring the judiciary and legislature under executive control. The detention of high-profile opposition leaders has fragmented the opposition to the grass-roots level. It is unlikely that this curfew will have any significant impact on the Maldives’s tourist resorts, however caution is advised after dark, particularly in the capital Malé.
  • Attack in Burkina Faso – On the morning of 02 March, the French Embassy and Army Headquarters in Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou came under attack. Four attackers have reportedly been killed at the Embassy and three at the Army Headquarters. There is no word on civilian casualties at the time of writing and while it is also unclear which group conducted the attack, Al Qaeda are present and active in the Sahel region. Al Qaeda have previously conduct high-profile attacks on foreign and government locations in Burkina Faso’s capital city.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Anti-Corruption Protests in Tel Aviv – The recent scandal which has embroiled Israeli president Netanyahu is continuing to cause disruption across Israel. Opposition and anti-corruption protesters are due to hold further rallies in Tel Aviv on 03 March. Previous protests have attracted several thousand people, although violence has not been reported. Further revelations in the corruption case are likely to lead to protests growing in size. Police are unlikely to use excessive force against protesters; police support for the corruption charges demonstrates significant independence from the country’s political leadership.
  • Italian Elections – Italians are set to go to the polls on 04 March in elections which could define or alter the future of the Eurozone and the European Union. Recent polling data suggests that the right-wing coalition is set to be the victor, but no party or political groups is predicted to gain the 40 per cent required to form a government. This could lead to some form of grand coalition. The election has seen the rise of the right, with former-Prime Minister Berlusconi and the Lega Nord coming to the fore.
  • International Women’s Day – International Women’s Day, officially 08 March, is likely to be marked by rallies and protests on the weekends of 03-04 March, and 10-11 March. In light of the #metoo movement, and revelations of sexual crimes in many western countries, these marches should be expected to attract wider support and attendance than normal. Travellers should monitor local media to remain aware of any protests planned in their area and make appropriate plans to bypass any demonstrations. Such events are unlikely to become violent but may cause travel disruption.
  • Sierra Leone General Election – The election due for 07 March will be the first of two rounds of voting involved in the election of the Sierra Leone president. The incumbent President Koroma is not standing, having reached his constitutionally mandated term limit. Candidates from five parties are competing for the position. Some controversy has surrounded the timing of the vote as it sits outside the five years and three months period stated in the constitution, however there is no indication that this will lead to significant unrest, or that it marks an effort to undermine democratic norms.
  • ELN Unilateral Ceasefire – On 09 March, the Colombian rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN) are due to begin a unilateral ceasefire until 13 March. It is unclear whether this is the prelude to reopening peace negotiations, however the effectiveness of the ceasefire cannot be assured. Colombia is home to multiple insurgent groups, including cells which have fragmented away from centralised control. In combination with criminal gangs, these smaller groups are likely to continue violent actions throughout the ceasefire period.

Significant Dates and Events

  • 03 March – Bulgaria Liberation Day
  • 03 March – Malawi – Liberation Day
  • 03 March – Israel – Anti-corruption march in Tel Aviv
  • 03 March Canada – International Women’s Day march in Toronto
  • 03 March – United States – International Women’s Day march in Los Angeles
  • 03 March – Indonesia – Women’s Rights march to be held in Jakarta
  • 04 March – West Bank & Gaza – Israeli Borders to re-open after Purim holiday
  • 04 March – El Salvador – General Election
  • 04 March – France – Paris Semi-Marathon to cause road closures
  • 05 March – Australia – Labour Day
  • 05 March – Greece – Morning and evening rush-hour rail workers strike
  • 06 March – Greece – 24 hour rail workers strike
  • 06 March – Ghana – Independence Day
  • 07 March – Sierra Leone – General Elections
  • 07 March – Ecuador – Residents to protest toll road in Cuenca city
  • 08 March – Worldwide – International Women’s Day
  • 08 March – Uruguay – Women’s Rights march in Montevideo
  • 08 March – France – International Women’s Day protests planned in Paris
  • 08 March – Syria – Revolution Day
  • 11 March – Lithuania – Restoration of Independence Day
  • 11 March – Lesotho – Moshoeshoe’s Day
  • 12 March – Australia – Canberra and Labour Day
  • 12 March – Commonwealth – Commonwealth Day
  • 12 March – Zambia – Youth Day
  • 12 March – Belize – National Heroes and Benefactors Day
  • 12 March – Mauritius – National Day
  • 14 March – Albania – Summer Day
  • 15-16 March – Belarus – Constitution Day
  • 15-16 March – Hungary – Public holiday.
  Click the following link to download this report as a PDF:  Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 09 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 09 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.