Solace Global – Weekly Roundup – Week 41

Headlines From This Week

Hurricane Michael hits the United States – At least 11 people have been killed after Hurricane Michael made landfall just north of Mexico Beach (Bay County, Florida), rapidly escalating from a Category 2 to a Category 4 storm (Saffir Simpson scale). The storm achieved wind speeds of 155mph (250kph); falling just 5mph short becoming a Category 5 storm. It is the strongest hurricane to hit the region for 25 years and caused significant damage and flooding in both Florida and Georgia. Local communication infrastructure reportedly remains significantly damaged and up to 1.1 million households and business are currently without electricity from Florida up to Virginia. The remnants of the storm are now of the east coast of the United States with windspeeds equivalent to a tropical storm. Violence in Anglophone regions during Cameroon elections – Violence in the Anglophone regions marred the 7 October election, with separatists shutting down numerous polling stations and established ‘ghost towns’ in Bamenda (Northwest region) and Beau (Southwest region). Clashes also occurred between the military and separatist movements. The Cameroonian authorities temporarily closed all of Cameroon’s ports of entry for a 24-hour period on polling day; most have now reopened with only some land borders with Nigeria remaining closed. On 8 October, Maurice Kamto, the main opposition leader, declared himself the winner; however, the result can only be released by the Constitutional Council of Cameroon. This result will be announced in the next ten days, with current incumbent, Paul Biya, likely to be named the victor. In this event, unrest should be expected throughout the country. Missile intercepted over southern Saudi Arabia – Saudi air defence intercepted a missile fired from Yemen on 10 October just before 23:00 local time. A spokesperson for the Saudi military stated that the country’s air defences had intercepted and destroyed the missile, which was targeting the city of Najran. The latest incident comes after, a missile damaged a mosque in Asir region last month. While not independently verified, Saudi officials say that some 112 citizens and residents have been killed with hundreds more wounded in 204 ballistic attacks on the kingdom. Missing Journalist increases tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey – Tensions have been heightened between Ankara and Riyad over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish authorities have alleged that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The authorities have said they have audio and visual evidence that there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in the disappearance. The case has raised tensions between the Saudi Crown Prince and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the latter declaring himself as a champion of the Arab Spring with the crown prince positioning himself in the opposite camp. Clashes between police and protesters in Mauritania – On 8 October, protesters clashed with security forces during a protest outside the parliament building in Nouakchott. The demonstrators were protesting against slavery, demanding the release of anti-slavery campaigner and new Member of Parliament Biram Ould Dah Abeid who was jailed on 7 August for alleged hate speech. Further protests are likely in the coming days and weeks with clashes also likely.

What To Look Out for Next Week

Afghanistan district and parliamentary elections – Polling is likely to go ahead on 20 October amid tensions from the Taliban, who have vowed to block the elections. There are also severe concerns from international election observes over the transparency of the long-delayed parliamentary elections. Militant groups have been quick to launch attacks on campaigning events, on 9 October a suicide bomber in Lashkar Gah (Helmand Province) targeted the office of local candidate Mohammad Achakzai, killing him and seven others. In July an IED was detonated at a rally being held in Jalalabad (Nangarhar Province) by the only Sikh candidate in the elections, Avtar Singh Khalsa, killing 20 people. The Taliban have called the elections an American conspiracy to undermine Afghanistan. Targeted attacks on electoral candidates are likely to continue in the run-up to the polling day and travellers should avoid all political rally’s and large gatherings of people, maintaining a low profile for the duration of their time in the country. Turkey to reopen consulates in Mosul and Basra, Iraq – Following a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and new Iraqi President, Bahram Salih, Turkey has made the decision to reopen their consulates in Mosul and Basra. Both consulates were closed over security fears, in Mosul, the consulate was closed in 2014 after the Islamic State (IS) overran the compound taking 49 Turkish diplomats’ hostage. The Basra consulate was closed earlier this summer amidst city-wide unrest over the socio-economic conditions throughout the province. Turkey has significant economic and commercial ties with Iraq as well as shared security concerns over the activity of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) along the shared border. While these will all be factors in the decision to reopen the consulates, the decision does also allude to a significant improvement in the security environment in both locations. Local elections in Cote D’Ivoire – On Saturday 13 October, local elections will be held in Côte d’Ivoire. Campaigning has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks and ended on Thursday. The vote will give all the main parties an indication ahead of the 2020 presidential election; and, as such, are likely to be highly competitive. There is a tense political atmosphere which has been fuelled by irregularities in voting preparations. Travellers in the country are advised to strictly avoid all crowds and to be aware of the potential for clashes to occur. Burundi ban on foreign relief agencies – Security forces arrested three aid workers employed by the US-based relief agency, the International Rescue Committee, for defying a recently imposed ban on foreign relief agencies operating without special permission from the Ministry of Public Security. Under new legislation, international non-government organisations must place a third of their country budget in Burundi’s central bank and implement a clear ethnic quota that favours projects supporting the ethnic Hutu communities. Given that all International NGO’s operate under the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence such regulations are likely to be rejected by the humanitarian community, leading to further arrests of aid workers and the withdrawal of international relief operations throughout the country.

Significant Dates and Events

  • 10-24 October – Nepal – Hindu Dashin Festival
  • 12 October – Brazil – Lady of Aparecida
  • 12 October – Equatorial Guinea – Independence Day.
  • 12 October – Spain – Fiesta Nacional de Espana.
  • 13 October – Burundi – Prince Louis Rwagasore Day
  • 14 October – Georgia – Day of Svetitskovloba
  • 14 October – Tanzania – Mwlimu Nyerere Day
  • 14 October – Yemen – Liberation Day
  • 15 October – Jamaica – National Heroes Day
  • 15 October – Belize – Pan American Day
  • 15 October – Tunisia – Evacuation Day
  • 15 October – Samoa – Lotu a Tamiti Holiday
  • 16 October – India – Maha Saptami
  • 17 October – China – Chung Yeung Festival
  • 17 October – Haiti – Dessalines Day
  • 18 October – Azerbaijan – Independence Day
  • 18 October – Zambia – National Prayer day
  • 19 October – Bangladesh – Durga Puja
  • 20 October – Guatemala – Revolution Day
  • 20 October – Kenya – Mashujaa Day

Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 41 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 41 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.