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Daily Intelligence Briefing

Friday, January 18, 2019 - Late Edition

World Update will not be published on Monday, 21 January, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in the United States. World Update will resume on 22 January.

ALGERIA (Security threat level - 4 High)

ALGERIAN PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES ELECTIONS

On 18 January 2019, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that the country will hold presidential elections on 18 April 2019. Local authorities have until 5 February to update electoral lists. It is unclear at this time whether Bouteflika will run for re-election. (18 Jan 2019)

ARGENTINA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

PERSISTENT HEAVY RAINFALL CAUSES FLOODS IN NORTHEASTERN ARGENTINA

According to reports on 17 January 2019, heavy rainfall since 1 January has caused floods and significant economic damage in northeastern Argentina. The region has received approximately five times the expected amount of rainfall, with some areas receiving a year’s worth of rainfall within 15 days. The damage to crops and farmland in the region has totaled approximately 2 billion U.S. dollars. Approximately 3,500 people have evacuated from the provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, Colon and Concordia. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue for two more weeks. (17 Jan 2019)

PILOT UNION ASSEMBLIES CAUSE FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS IN BUENOS AIRES

On 17 January 2019, the Airline Aviators Union (UALA) and the Association of Airline Pilots (APLA) held assemblies that caused delays to between 10 and 15 flights at airports in Buenos Aires. The assemblies followed the Argentine government’s decision to repeal a controversial resolution that would have granted licenses to foreign pilots to fly in the country. The APLA announced a 48-hour strike to begin on 17 January to protest against the resolution. The unions called off the strike after approximately three hours and have ruled out further protests or strikes for the near future. (17 Jan 2019)

AZERBAIJAN (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

AUTHORITIES DETAIN TWO OPPOSITION MEMBERS IN BAKU

According to reports on 18 January 2019, a local Baku court sentenced two members of the opposition to 20 days in prison and fined three others for their participation in a demonstration on 15 January. The detained individuals were participants in a group of approximately 100 who previously gathered outside the Baku courthouse to support colleagues accused of money laundering. During the 15 January demonstration, police officers dispersed the group, but detained several of them; most were released later the same evening. (18 Jan 2019)

BULGARIA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

AUTHORITIES DETAIN DOZENS IN RAID ON SUSPECTED TERRORIST FINANCING SCHEME

On 18 January 2019, Bulgarian authorities conducted coordinated raids at more than 50 sites in seven towns across the country in relation to an alleged terrorist financing scheme. Officers arrested 43 people in connection with the investigation. The detained individuals are suspected of sending money abroad to finance terrorist operations. The operation was the result of a year-long investigation in cooperation with other European Union countries. (18 Jan 2019)

BURKINA FASO (Security threat level - 4 High)

U.S. EMBASSY IN OUAGADOUGOU ISSUES SECURITY ALERT REGARDING TERRORIST AND CRIMINAL GROUPS

On 18 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso issued a Security Alert regarding terrorist and criminal groups, which reads in part as follows:

  • Location: East Region and Sahel Region.
  • Event: Terrorist and criminal groups continue plotting attacks in Burkina Faso, targeting security and military forces, hunting and security outposts, mining sites, and schools. Terrorists and criminal groups continue to attack and abduct Westerners, sometimes murdering victims. Since December 15, 2018, two Westerners have been missing and are presumed abducted and a third was kidnapped and killed.
Actions to Take:
  • Avoid travel to the Komondjari, Topa, Komienga, and Gourma provinces in the Eastern Region and the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso." (18 Jan 2019)

ABDUCTED CANADIAN NATIONAL FOUND DEAD

On 17 January 2019, Burkinabe officials announced that unidentified assailants shot dead a Canadian national whom they had abducted on 15 January during a raid on a mining site near the village of Tiabongou, located in Yagha province. The victim’s body was found in Gorom-Gorom, located in Oualadan province, on 16 January. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and subsequent assassination as yet. (17 Jan 2019)

CHILE (Security threat level - 2 Low)

HUNDREDS OF SQUATTERS BREAK PROTEST CAMP IN SANTIAGO

On 17 January 2019, hundreds of people occupying vacant land at a site in Santiago broke camp under pressure from authorities. Police officials warned the demonstrators to voluntarily vacate the area or be forcibly removed by the large police presence, which included armored vehicles equipped with water cannons and tear gas launchers. The squatters were demanding plots of unused public and private land to settle and build homes in the Peñalolen commune. (17 Jan 2019)

CUBA / VENEZUELA (Security threat levels - 2 Low / 4 High)

CUBA TO SEND 2,000 DOCTORS TO VENEZUELA

On 18 January 2019, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced that his country will receive 2,000 doctors from Cuba the following week. The 2,000 doctors are among the 11,420 doctors pulled from Brazil after Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro questioned the training of Cuban doctors and demanded changes to Brazil’s More Doctors Program. Maduro did not provide details on how Venezuela would pay for the services of the Cuban doctors. (18 Jan 2019)

CZECH REPUBLIC (Security threat level - 2 Low)

MAN LIGHTS HIMSELF ON FIRE ON ANNIVERSARY OF STUDENT’S SELF-IMMOLATION IN PRAGUE

On 18 January 2019, a man set himself on fire in Prague’s central Wenceslas Square on the 50th anniversary of a student’s self-immolation in the same spot in 1969 in protest of the Soviet invasion. The man was taken to a hospital with severe burns; there were no other reports of injury. (18 Jan 2019)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (Security threat level - 5 Very High)

POST-ELECTION UNREST SITUATION UPDATE: 18 JANUARY

As of 18 January 2019, Congo’s Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on opposition candidate Martin Fayulu’s appeal for a recount of votes. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Fayulu’s appeal by 19 January. The court may rule to uphold the provisional election results or it could order a recount or a new election. The president-elect is currently scheduled to be inaugurated on 22 January.

In a related development, hundreds of demonstrators protested in Bukavu (South Kivu province) against the African Union’s (AU) request that the DRC “suspend” the announcement of the final election results. Demonstrators burned tires and chanted anti-AU slogans. Meanwhile in Kinshasa, a group of activists gathered outside the AU headquarters to protest against the bloc's interference in Congolese affairs. The AU requested the suspension following a meeting on 17 January in which it noted that attendees had “concluded that there were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission with the verdict of the ballot boxes.” Congolese authorities declined the AU’s request. An AU delegation is expected in Kinshasa early next week.

Meanwhile, on 17 January, 33 non-governmental organizations called on the Congolese people to respect the court’s ruling to preserve peace “in the interest of national unity.” Demonstrations are highly likely following the court’s announcement of the final election results. (18 Jan 2019)

INDIA (Security threat level - 3 Medium)

REPUBLIC DAY PREPARATIONS TO DISRUPT FLIGHTS AT INDIRA GANDHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

On 18 January 2019, flight operations at Indira Gandhi International Airport (VIDP/DEL) were suspended from 1045 until 1215 local time (0515 until 0645 UTC) due to preparations for Republic Day on 26 January. Further disruptions will occur at the same time between 20 and 26 January. Authorities believe between 800 and 900 flights could be affected by the closures. However, airlines were given prior notice, and have taken steps to adjust flight schedules. (18 Jan 2019)

THREAT LEVEL DEFINITIONS

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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