Global Security Forecast: Week 11 2019

    Ethiopia: Addis Ababa Ethiopian Airlines 737 crashes en route to Nairobi; 737 MAX aircraft grounded globally as a result of the crash An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 has crashed whilst en route to Nairobi, Kenya. The location of the crash is, as yet, unconfirmed. It is likely that hundreds of lives have been lost. An investigation and recovery effort are underway. As a result of the incident, which is the second for the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, all 737 MAX aircraft have now been ground indefinitely until the cause for the accidents is found. The groundings do not affect older 737 and the impact on airlines has been limited. It is likely the aircraft will be grounded at least until the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is determined. ADIVCE: The impact of the groundings of such a new aircraft have been limited. Most airlines only have a handful of the aircraft type, this has meant that flight schedules have been unaltered. Travellers are advised to contact their airline for advice regarding their itinerary.
New Zealand: Christchurch Terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March At around 13:40 local time at least three shooters entered two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand. As a result of the attacks, at least 49 people are said to have been killed. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stated that the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, can only be described as a terrorist attack. She has also stated that it appears that there was a high degree of planning by the perpetrators. To read more, see our latest travel advisory
Algeria: Nationwide Protest continue as president states he will not stand for fifth term; but delays election Protests are continuing in Algeria despite President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stating he will not run for a fifth term in office. The protesters are demanding that the president resigns from office immediately and that the elections are held as planned in April. To read more, see our latest travel advisory
Venezuela: Nationwide Large protests in Caracas as blackout continues Nationwide blackouts continue after power was restored to parts of Caracas and other areas around the country. According to media reports, traffic lights are functioning in some areas the capital, but the metro system remains closed. Some areas have been without electricity for over 48 hours and the blackout is affecting healthcare facilities. Internet monitoring organisations also reported that 96 percent of the country is without access to mobile telecommunication networks after the most recent power outage. On the 9 March rival protests were held in different parts of Caracas to support Maduro or Guaido who both claim the Presidency. There were a number of scuffles with police and several injured. Mr Guaido, who leads the opposition controlled National Assembly, has been recognised as interim president by more than 50 countries. However, Mr Maduro retains the support of the military and close allies including Russia and China. The continuing blackout is only heightening tensions. ADVICE: Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor the political situation and to avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest. Due to the tense political situation, local security officials have enhanced measures to enforce the rule of law. It is recommended to adhere to instructions, such as curfews and identity checks, and avoid open criticism of the current government or its officials. Due to the ongoing risk of instability, it is advised to leave the country as soon as possible.
United Kingdom: Nationwide The IRA has claimed responsibility for the recent parcel bombs in London and Glasgow A group, calling itself the IRA, has claimed responsibility for the parcel bombs sent to London transport hubs and the University of Glasgow last week. A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police announced that the group has claimed to have sent five devices, of which only four have been detected. Police investigations into the parcel bombs are ongoing. ADVICE: Further suspicious items are possible in the coming days and weeks. Travellers are advised that if in the vicinity of the suspicious item, not to touch or inspect it, report the item to a member of staff, security personnel, or the authorities, informing them of the exact location of the device. Adhere to all police instructions.
United Kingdom: Westminster British government votes to delay Brexit Members of the UK House of Commons have rejected an altered Brexit withdrawal agreement that had been brought before them by Prime Minister Theresa May by a margin of 149 votes. It was judged that the Prime Minister had failed to make sufficient changes to the withdrawal agreement that was rejected in January 2019. The vote was followed by a series of votes, including whether to pursue a second referendum or a No Deal Brexit. Both of which were rejected. As such Britain now must wait to see if the EU accepts the delay. ADVICE: Protests are likely in the coming weeks, both if Britain is granted a delay and if the country is forced to leave without a deal. It remains highly likely that political change will occur with a general election, second referendum or continued stalemate all equally possible.
Brazil: Sao Paulo School shooting resulted in eight deaths in Suzano, Sao Paulo, on 13 March Two former pupils are understood to have carried out a school shooting in Suzano, near Sao Paulo, on Wednesday 13 March. The two males reportedly fired indiscriminately at students and teachers. Military police and emergency services attended the scene, the perpetrators are reported to have committed suicide before being apprehended. In total, five pupils, a school administrator and a teacher were killed before the two perpetrators killed themselves. The two attackers had been close friends since childhood and used to spend a lot of time together playing video games and were often seen at a local gaming arcade. Earlier in the day, the two attackers had shot dead the younger one’s uncle. A state official said the younger gunman “had never shown any problems” at school; however, it is believed that he, and possibly the older attacker, had been bullied at the school. ADVICE: Crime rates and gang related crime is high in Brazil; however, incidents of this nature are uncommon. Travellers are advised to be aware of their surroundings and ensure they adhere,
Israel: Tel Aviv Multiple long-range rockets launched at Tel Aviv Local reports suggest at least two long-range rockets have been fired at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area from Gaza. Warning sirens were activated prior to the attack, in which no casualties or damage has been reported. One of the missiles was reportedly destroyed by Tel Aviv’s ‘Iron Dome’ defence system, the other landed in the Mediterranean Sea. This is the first attack of this kind since 2014, Hamas has denied responsibility. Israel has carried out air strikes in the port west area of Khan Younis in response to the rocket attacks. Up to 100 retaliatory attacks have been launched across Gaza, targeting Hamas sites and Islamic Jihad. ADVICE: Travellers in Tel Aviv should ensure they are familiar with what actions to take in the event warning sirens are activated. Travellers should seek shelter and remain there for at least ten minutes upon hearing sirens.
India: Nationwide Holi Festival 20-21 March The celebration of the Holi festival will be held across India on 20-21 March, attracting visitors worldwide for its colourful celebratory powders and the nationwide celebrations. Generally, the scale of the event and the number of participants, it is important for visitors to pay attention to crowd movements, which have caused incidents before. Crimes such as pickpocketing are also fairly common during the festival. However, the biggest risks are faced by female participants to the festival, as the celebration is often used as an excuse for harassment, which reportedly skyrockets during the days of the festival, from groping to rape and to the point where it has been reported that young women were targeted by “semen-filled balloons”. Men are also known to consume a cannabis-derived liquid and harassing women, especially in big groups. ADVICE: Female travellers should exercise extreme caution if celebrating the festival, either in Delhi or elsewhere, and avoid going to the celebrations alone. It is advised for foreigners to celebrate in groups, exercise vigilance and keep an eye on their belonging. If approached by groups of intoxicated individuals, travellers should avoid confrontation and seek the assistance of local law enforcement. Women should avoid larger gatherings and stick to familiar surroundings, as well as respect avoid leaving their hotel after dark.
United States: Washington DC Trump – Bolsonaro Summit 17-20 March Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will visit Washington DC early next week, in it first bilateral summit with the United States since taking office since 1 January 2019. Brazil and the US being the biggest economies in the Americas and both Presidents having run on a populist and conservative platform, there is a great curiosity in whether the summit will result in a new entente between the two countries, which could greatly impact the region. Among the most pressing topics to be discussed are certainly the Venezuela crisis – both nations recognised Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela – , trade and the role that Washington is going to play in the region moving ahead. To read more please see