Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 42

Headlines From This Week

  • At least 20 people were killed following shooting in Kerch, Crimea – Dozens were also wounded following the shooting in a college in Kerch on 17 October. Russia’s Investigative Committee said that an 18-year old student entered the school and left a nail bomb in the cafeteria before detonating the explosive remotely.  He then began shooting indiscriminately at people before killing himself. Five teacher and 15 students have so far been confirmed to have died in the attack with the death toll likely to rise. Local government officials have declared a state-of-emergency in wake of the incident. Despite the incident, the security situation in Crimea has remained relatively calm since March 2017 referendum when citizens voting overwhelmingly to re-unite with Russia.
  • Protests reported following firefight in Srinagar, Indian administrated Jammu and Kashmir – Protests erupted in Srinagar on 18 October after two suspected militant and a civilian were killed following a counter insurgency operation. The firefight, between Indian security forces and militants, occurred after the security forces raided a home in the Fateh Kadal area of the city, apprehending a man suspected of being a member of a militant group. Several journalists were arrested as they tried to report on the situation. Anti-Indian demonstrations by residents quickly followed the incident with security forces firing tear gas towards protesters. Communication, including mobile and internet services, were shut down in the city in an attempt to stop the situation further escalating. While communications have now been restored, local anger over counter-insurgency operations is likely to lead to further unrest in the coming days.
  • Fatalities following clashes during protests in Comoros – Three people were killed on 16 October following clashes between protesters and security forces on Anjouan island. Authorities imposed a curfew on the largest town on the island, Mutsamudu, however demonstrations continued overnight resulting in the use of tear gas and live ammunition by security forces to disperse protesters. Instability has rocked Anjouan Island since 30 July national referendum that made constitutional reforms allowing current incumbent, Assoumani, to run for a second term in 2021. Previously the presidency would rotate every year between Comoros’ three Islands. Opposition parties boycotted the vote in July, denouncing it as a power grab by Assoumani. A government crackdown on opposition politicians, including arrests and censorship of media institutes, is likely to exacerbate tensions. Clashes between protesters and security forces is likely to continue in the short to medium term.
  • Fatalities resulted from flooding in Aude, southern France – At least 13 people have been killed after flash flooding struck the southern French department of Aude. Several months of rain fell in a few hours resulting in the water rising quickly in many towns and villages. The Aude River rose by 7 meters in some places An Interior Ministry spokesman stated that nine of the deaths centred on the town of Trebes. The flooding is believed to be the worst in the region since 1891. Around 700 firefighters were deployed with around 160 police officers and seven helicopters. Local travel disruption is expected to continue over the coming days.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Prominent Afghan police general assassinated in Kandahar – Abdul Razaq, one of Afghanistan’s most senior Police Chiefs, was assassinated in a targeted attack on 18 October 2018 in Kandahar city. The general had just left a meeting at the provincial governor’s compound when his bodyguard opened fire killing the general, the provincial governor and a senior intelligence official. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of NATO Resolute Support, attended the meeting but was reportedly unharmed in the incident. Although Gen. Razaq remained a controversial figure, his administration of Kandahar, alongside strong relationships with local Pashtun leaders, brought stability to the province and the wider region. Parliamentary elections in Kandahar will be postponed for one week following the incident due increased fears around security. Gen. Razaq’s death is expected to have a ripple effect across the province, leading to a resurgence of anti-government opposition from prominent tribal families and a deterioration in the security environment.
  • Ebola epidemic continues in eastern provinces of Congo DR – New cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have been confirmed in both Beni and North Kivu following a brief lull in confirmed cases. The international response to the Ebola outbreak has been hampered by access issues due to ongoing insurgency and the insecurity throughout such regions. Recent cases have been documented within miles of the border regions with Rwanda and Uganda. Local medical facilities in the area remain severely under resourced to deal with the crisis however, several international NGO’s have now established treatment centres in the hope they minimise the spread of the disease.  While the most recent outbreak of EVD in the DRC remains limited in its spread, there remains a risk that it might cross land borders becoming an international crisis and much harder to control. Travellers should defer all travel to the eastern provinces of the DRC at the current time. Land borders are currently being heavily regulated by Rwandan and Ugandan border forces and delays are expected.
  • Campaigning set to intensify ahead of November 7 Madagascan presidential election – Madagascar will go to the polls on November 7 to vote on the next president. The 2009 political crisis, brought on by increasing levels of inequality, ended in a coup d’état, deposing Marc Ravalomanana after the then president imposed increasingly authoritative polices to supress unrest. In the intervening years Madagascar has struggled to economise, leading to high levels if poverty and a lack of development. This year’s election is seen as vital to ensuring better economic prospects for the country and reducing levels of crime and unrest. At this time, 92 percent of the Malagasy population living in absolute poverty (under 2 dollars a day) political stability and consensus will be essential to tackling the economic crisis. Thirty-six candidates will run in the first round including Ravalomanana as well as the leaders of the 2009 coup Andry Rajoelina. If there is no outright winner achieving 51%, a runoff will be contested between the two candidates who receive the highest vote share on 19 December. Travellers in Madagascar should expect an increase in political demonstrations in the coming weeks as the campaigning intensifies. Local travel disruption should be expected as well as localised clashes between protesters and security forces.

Significant Dates and Events

Date Country Event Potential for violence
19 Oct Bangladesh Durga Puja
19 Oct Belgium 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
20 Oct London Protest, Park Lane to Parliament Square at 12.00
20 Oct Guatemala Revolution Day
20 Oct Kenya Mashujaa Day
20 Oct Afghanistan Parliamentary and District Elections High potential for violence
21 Oct Cameroon Planned march in Douala over elections irregularities Moderate potential for violence
23 Oct Guinea Planned protest in Conakry over cost of living High potential for violence
24 Oct Tunisia Nationwide union strikes over economic grievances Moderate potential for violence
24 Oct Zambia Independence Day
24 Oct to 25 Oct Canada Summit on reforming the World Trade Organisation
25 Oct China Japanese Prime Minister to visit China
26 Oct Ireland Presidential Election
26 Oct Congo DR Nationwide rallies expected as campaigning for 23 Dec presidential election begins
26 Oct Austria National day
27 Oct St Vincent and Grenadines Independence Day
27 Oct Turkmenistan Independence Day
28 Oct Gabon Legislative Election (second round) Moderate potential for violence
28 Oct Georgia Presidential election
28 Oct Brazil Presidential election (second round) Moderate potential for violence
29 Oct Turkey Closure of Ataturk Airport, Istanbul Republic Day
31 Oct Burkina Faso March planned in Ouagadougou to commemorate 4th anniversary of 2014 popular uprising
31 Oct Mexico Water cuts in Mexico from 31 October to November 3