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Daily Intelligence Briefing

Thursday, June 20, 2019
AFGHANISTAN (Security threat level - 5 Very High)

U.S. EMBASSY IN KABUL ISSUES SECURITY ALERT REGARDING MILITANT TARGETING OF FOREIGNERS

On 19 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Event: The U.S. Embassy in Kabul advises U.S. citizens that insurgent and terrorist groups and criminal organizations continue to target U.S. citizens and foreigners for kidnapping and hostage taking, including Western diplomats, doctors and other medical professionals, engineers, teachers, aid and development workers, government employees, journalists, and visitors.

"In addition, these groups may target places where Westerners are known to congregate, including banks, markets, hospitals, guest houses and hotels, public gatherings, and areas near the U.S. and other foreign embassies in Kabul and other provinces, including Ghazni, Helmand, and Badakhshan." (19 Jun 2019)

ALBANIA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

NATIONWIDE PROTESTS HELD AGAINST PLANNED 30 JUNE LOCAL ELECTIONS END IN VIOLENCE

On 20 June 2019, opposition supporters gathered outside polling centers across Albania to protest against the upcoming 30 June local elections. There were reports of clashes between protesters and police officers in a number of cities across the country. In Kavaje, police officers fired tear gas at protesters who threw flares and stones and attempted to storm a polling center. In Kukes, police officers fired tear gas at protesters who attempted to use a truck to break into a polling station. In Klos, protesters set fire to election equipment, while in Tropoja, protesters stormed the election commission offices and threw out election materials. Police officials reported that at least 12 people had been detained for damaging election equipment across the country. Authorities plan to arrest at least 20 suspects in connection with the protests. In a statement, the local Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) office condemned the violence. (19 Jun 2019)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE REGARDING DEMONSTRATION ON 21 JUNE

On 19 June 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Albania, which reads in part as follows: “A major demonstration has been announced for the evening of Friday 21 June 2019; you should check local media for the latest information, remain vigilant and avoid any demonstrations.” (19 Jun 2019)

BANGLADESH (Security threat level - 4 High)

LOCALS CLASH WITH CHINESE WORKERS AT POWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION SITE IN PATUAKHALI

On 19 June 2019, hundreds of Chinese and Bangladeshi workers clashed at a China-funded power plant construction site in Patuakhali, which is located nearly 200 km (125 mi) south of the capital Dhaka. Reports indicate that the violence broke out after a Bangladeshi worker fell and died, and locals working at the site accused Chinese workers of attempting to conceal the death.  At least one Chinese national was killed during the brawl and at least seven others -- both Bangladeshi and Chinese workers -- were injured. Security officials deployed approximately 1,000 police officers to the scene in order to restore peace and prevent further violence. (19 Jun 2019)

BELGIUM (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

FIREFIGHTERS BLOCK ROADS THROUGHOUT BRUSSELS DURING DEMONSTRATION

On 19 June 2019, firefighters staged a demonstration throughout Brussels. Approximately 200 firefighters blocked the Cinquantenaire, Montgomery and Tervuren tunnels, while others started fires by the tunnel near Porte de Namur and in the roundabout near Boulevard de Waterloo. Authorities warned of severe traffic disruptions and asked travelers to avoid the area. This was the second gathering organized by the firefighters within this week to protest possible salary cuts. Wage negotiations are set to resume later in the week. (19 Jun 2019)

CHINA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

RAILWAY STATION EMPLOYEE STABBED IN SHENZHEN

On 18 June 2019, a railway station employee was stabbed by a disgruntled passenger who missed her train at the Shenzhen North Railway Station. Following the attack, security personnel arrested the assailant, and the victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. There were no indications that rail services were disrupted due to the incident. (18 Jun 2019)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

U.S. TOURIST DIES AT RESORT IN NORTHERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

According to reports on 18 June 2019, a 55-year-old U.S. man died while sleeping in a room at the Terra Linda Resort -- located in the town of Sosua -- in the northern Puerto Plata province. Early on the night of 12 June, the vacationer had complained that he was overheating and wanted to take a bath, after which he had gone to his room to sleep. The following day a resort staff member discovered his body on the floor after the knocks on the door went unanswered. Preliminary reports suggest that the tourist suffered cardiac arrest; however, his sibling has stated that the deceased was in good health and had no prior medical conditions.

Analyst Comment: There have been multiple reports regarding the deaths of U.S. tourists who were staying at upscale resorts in the Dominican Republic over the last month. Additionally, media sources are now reporting on deaths that occurred in 2018. The latest figures indicate that a total of nine U.S. tourists have died at resorts in the Dominican Republic, including in La Romana and Punta Cana, since the beginning of 2018. While the exact circumstances surrounding these deaths currently remain unclear, U.S. federal officials are collaborating with local authorities in the ongoing investigation. (18 Jun 2019)

ETHIOPIA (Security threat level - 4 High)

ETHIOPIA RESTORES INTERNET AND TEXT MESSAGING SERVICES

On 18 June 2019, Ethiopia restored internet and text messaging services after a week-long shutdown. The state-owned communications network stated that it will credit customers for services disrupted during the shutdown. The shutdown may have been a possible attempt to prevent cheating during the secondary school final exams. (18 Jun 2019)

FRANCE (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

GAS CYLINDER EXPLODES IN CENTRAL MONS

On 18 June 2019, a gas cylinder exploded in central Mons during the Ducasse de Mons festival. The explosion injured at least six people. Police officers cordoned off the area and are investigating the cause of the explosion. (18 Jun 2019)

FRANCE / LUXEMBOURG / GERMANY / BELGIUM / NETHERLANDS / CROATIA / HUNGARY (Security threat levels - 3 Medium / 1 Very Low / 3 Medium / 3 Medium / 2 Low / 2 Low / 2 Low)

EUROCONTROL WARNS OF DELAYS ACROSS NORTHERN EUROPE DUE TO STORMS

On 19 June 2019, Eurocontrol warned that storms across Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands will cause disruptions to air travel beginning at approximately 1800 UTC. The storms are expected to last through the morning of 20 June. Meteolux -- Luxembourg’s meteorological organization -- issued a warning for severe weather and wind gusts of up to 70 kph (45 mph). Eurocontrol also warned that a separate storm formation over Croatia and Hungary could cause significant disruptions to air travel. Flight delays are expected, as airspace has been restricted throughout the area. Travelers should contact the appropriate airline for more information on their flight status. (19 Jun 2019)

HONDURAS (Security threat level - 4 High)

NATIONWIDE PROTESTS INTENSIFY AMID POLICE STRIKE

Late on 19 June 2019, nationwide protests in Honduras intensified after members of the National Directorate of Special Forces (DNFE) went on strike to demand better pay. The riot police officers’ withdrawal encouraged protesters to block roads and set fire to tires in the cities of Comayagua, Danlí, El Progreso, La Lima, Santa Bárbara and Santa Rosa de Copán, among others, resulting in widespread traffic congestion. In Tegucigalpa, protesters also looted and set fire to businesses. Military police officers and soldiers later deployed to bring the situation under control. There were no reports of injuries. (19 Jun 2019)

INDIA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

WATER RATIONING IMPLEMENTED IN CHENNAI DUE TO LACK OF RAIN

According to reports on 19 June 2019, businesses and hotels in Chennai have begun to institute water restrictions due to shortages at the reservoirs that supply the city. Some hotels have begun to ration water for guests, and some companies have reduced the amount of water used in restrooms and cafeterias. The low water levels are due to delayed monsoon rains that typically begin in October. (19 Jun 2019)

THREAT LEVEL DEFNITIONS

1 Very Low - Crime Rate Risk Level 1: Visitors are exposed to a minimum degree of risk due to crime. This does not mean that crime does not occur, but rather that visitors are rarely affected by criminal acts. It is still wise to observe basic security precautions.

2 Low - Crime Rate Risk Level 2: Visitors are exposed to a low degree of risk due to crime. Criminal acts occur, but are uncommon in most areas of the city. Petty crime occasionally affects visitors to these cities; incidents of violent crime rarely affect visitors to these cities. Basic security precautions are advisable.

3 Medium - Crime Rate Risk Level 3: Visitors are exposed to a medium degree of risk due to crime. Petty crime is typically the primary security threat for visitors to these cities, although incidents of violent crime occasionally affect visitors. Visitors should practice standard security precautions.

4 High - Crime Rate Risk Level 4: Visitors are exposed to a high degree of risk due to crime. Criminal acts occur frequently and are often random occurrences. Visitors are likely to be affected by both incidents of violent crime – such as carjacking, armed robbery and physical/sexual assault – and petty crime – such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching – although they may mitigate some of the risk by avoiding the more crime-ridden areas of the city. Visitors should take extra security precautions while in the city.

5 Very High - Crime Rate Risk Level 5: Visitors are exposed to a very high degree of risk due to crime. Cities with a 5 rating are affected by rampant, largely uncontrolled crime. Both violent crime – such as carjacking, armed robbery and physical/sexual assault – and petty crime – such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching – regularly affect visitors to these cities. Criminally motivated attacks such as low-level bombings and shootouts are not uncommon. Police forces in such cities are generally not effective in controlling crime. Vigilant security precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

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