1 December 2014


Your Daily News can be accessed through the members-only red24Global app; click here to find out more.

News summary

 
BRAZIL - Protest against bus fare increase planned in Sao Paulo
HAITI - Ongoing cholera outbreak continues to affect country
MEXICO - (Update) Countrywide strike and associated protests
PERU - Major conference expected in Lima
 
AFGHANISTAN - Several incidents underscore extreme operating environment in the country
AUSTRALIA - Rally led by bike riders' association held in Canberra
BANGLADESH - Strike underway across Rajshahi division
CHINA - Several killed in separatist violence in the XUAR
HONG KONG - (Update) Low-level clashes reported between police and protesters
INDONESIA - Heightened security measures in Papua and West Papua provinces
PHILIPPINES / VIETNAM / CAMBODIA / LAOS - Disruptions and casualties reported due to Tropical Storm Sinlaku
 
BELGIUM - (Update) Strike action planned across country
FRANCE - Activists call for anti-police brutality protest in Toulouse
FRANCE - Adverse weather results in casualties and disruptions
GERMANY - Lufthansa pilots set to strike
GERMANY - Disposal of WWII bomb leads to disruptions in Dortmund
ROMANIA / MOLDOVA - Great Union Day to be commemorated in major cities
 
ALGERIA - Casualties reported following protest in Touggourt
EGYPT - Casualties following violent unrest in Cairo
EGYPT - Egyptian army colonel shot and killed in Cairo
 
NIGERIA - Scores killed in bomb attack in Kano
NIGERIA - Foreign nationals kidnapped in Emakalakala, Bayelsa state
NIGERIA - Suspected Boko Haram attack in Shani, Borno State
 

Crisis Management Assistance

 

Americas

BRAZIL (Country risk rating: High); 1 December; Protest against bus fare increase planned in Sao Paulo

Activist group, Movimento Passe Livre (MPL), has called for a protest in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, on 1 December. Participants are set to gather in Largo de Sao Francisco from 18:00 local time. The gathering has been called by the MPL, against the proposed increase in bus fares. The increase of bus fares is a recurring issue in Brazil, with the MPL having called similar protests and demonstrations in June 2013 over a proposed fare increase of US$0.20. These demonstrations resulted in the revocation of the proposed increase. The MPL is set to hold a number of protests relating to this issue in the coming days as the government makes its decision regarding the country's fiscal budget. The demonstration is set to be well attended; as such, localised travel disruptions are expected in the vicinity of Largo de Sao Francisco. Clients in Sao Paulo are advised to avoid all large street gatherings as a general precaution against civil unrest. Persons intending to travel in central areas of Sao Paulo should adjust their itineraries to make allowances for travel disruptions.


HAITI (Country risk rating: High); 1 December; Ongoing cholera outbreak continues to affect country

An ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti has resulted in 132 deaths thus far in 2014. Health officials in the country recorded 14,869 suspected cases as of early November, including 4,500 cases in October alone. Areas worst affected include the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounds, as well as the West and Artibonite departments. Haiti's current outbreak began in 2010 and has led to 712,330 suspected cases and an estimated 8,655 deaths to date, according to UN estimates. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal intestinal infection caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. Symptoms of the disease include profuse watery diarrhoea and vomiting, which occur from six hours to five days after exposure. Although the disease can effectively be treated, practising good hygiene and consuming only properly purified water will significantly mitigate the chances of infection. Clients in Haiti, regardless of area, are advised to refrain from buying food and beverages sold by street vendors and avoid drinking unpasteurised milk, as such foodstuffs are considered to be at an elevated risk of being contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. As a general precaution, only sterilised or bottled water should be consumed.


MEXICO (Country risk rating: High); 1 December; (Update) Countrywide strike and associated protests

Several civic groups, political opposition parties and trade unions have called for a countrywide strike on 1 December. The strike is set to affect a number of services, including transportation services, throughout the country. Associated demonstrations are set to take place in a number of cities, including in Mexico's capital, Mexico City, and the city of Ensenada, in Baja California state. In the capital, participants are set to gather at Zocalo Square from 16:00 local time. Protesters in Ensenada are expected to gather at 08:00 local time at the Lazaro Cardenas monument, from where they will proceed towards avenida Reforma, approximately 4km south of the monument. Further protest action is expected until 6 December, with demonstrations taking place in the cities of Atoyac, Ayotzinapa and Chilpancingo, in Guerrero state, on 2 December. A mass protest is also set to take place in Mexico City on 6 December. The strike call is the latest civic action in response to the disappearances of 43 student teachers in Guerrero state in September. The upcoming industrial action is expected to result in widespread disruptions to transport and business services across the country on 1 December. Demonstrations associated with the aforementioned student disappearances have become increasingly anti-government in nature. Security forces are known to use robust measures in response to the dissent; as such, further violence is possible, particularly if protesters attempt to block roads or strategic government locations. Persons in Mexico are advised to monitor local media closely for updates on planned protests and protest routes. All street demonstrations and concentrations of security personnel should be avoided as a precaution.


PERU (Country risk rating: Medium); 1 to 12 December; Major conference expected in Lima

The United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held at the Westin Hotel and Convention Center in Peru's capital, Lima, from 1 to 12 December. A number of high-profile personalities, including diplomats, business heads and entertainment sector celebrities, are expected to attend the event, which will be held in the city's San Isidro area. Local authorities have stated that 40,000 police officials will be deployed to secure the event and guests. The event and the associated security measures are expected to result in localised road traffic disruptions at times, particularly in the vicinity of the conference room and at the local airport, the Jorge Chavez International Airport. The increased security is viewed as precautionary; however, the possibility of related protests cannot be discounted. Should any demonstrations occur, these are likely in the San Isidro area and its immediate surrounds. Clients in Lima from 1 to 12 December should anticipate possible road travel disruptions in the vicinity of the conference venue. All related protests should be avoided as a precaution.


 

Asia and Pacific

AFGHANISTAN (Country risk rating: Extreme); 1 December; Several incidents underscore extreme operating environment in the country

Several security-related incidents in recent days continue to underscore the extreme threats of terrorism and conflict in Afghanistan. A Taleban-initiated attack on a guesthouse compound in the capital, Kabul, on 29 November resulted in the deaths of all three attackers, one foreign national and one local civilian. The compound is believed to house foreign workers, as well as the offices of a South African non-governmental organisation. Elsewhere on 29 November, Taleban fighters launched an attack on a military base, Camp Bastion, in the southern Helmand province, leaving six soldiers and 20 militants dead, while a suicide bombing on another base in the Sangin district of the province left five soldiers dead and eight others injured. On 28 November, explosives were detonated inside a mosque in the Khogyani district, in the eastern Nangarhar province, resulting in 34 injuries. These incidents underscore the extreme threats of terrorism and conflict in Afghanistan, and demonstrate that even the most secure areas of the country, such as Kabul, are not immune to the threat of attacks. The capital has experienced a spate of attacks in recent weeks, with a proportion of those specifically targeting foreign nationals and interests. Given the deep penetration and widespread presence of non-state armed groups throughout the country, further incursions should be expected. Due to a number of security concerns, all travel to Afghanistan is advised against. Maximum travel, personal and residential security protocols should be implemented at all times. All movement should be conducted during daylight hours only and in the presence of a security escort.


AUSTRALIA (Country risk rating: Low); 1 December; Rally led by bike riders' association held in Canberra

A demonstration led by the Freedom Riders Association (FRA) occurred outside Parliament in Australia's capital, Canberra, on 1 December. The official number of participants is unclear at this point. The gathering was organised to protest against alleged anti-motorbike legislation that is reportedly infringing on bikers' civil liberties, including the rights to congregate and organise social rides. Further demonstrations and localised travel disruptions are possible over the issue in the city. Clients in the capital are advised to monitor related developments.


BANGLADESH (Country risk rating: High); 1 December; Strike underway across Rajshahi division

A general strike (known locally as a hartal) is underway in the city of Rajshahi, capital of Bangladesh's eponymous division, on 1 December. The strike has been called by the student wing of Bangladesh's main Islamist opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD). The strike began at 06:00 and will end at 18:00 local time. There have been no reports of widespread violence thus far. The strike has been called to demand that authorities arrest and prosecute those responsible for the murder of a professor from Rajshahi University, who was killed on 15 November. Strikes of this nature are likely to result in travel disruptions to road and rail services, and to business operations during the course of the day. Associated demonstrations also remain possible, and may focus on the Rajshahi University campus. It should be noted that protest action has been known to degenerate into violent civil unrest, and clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Due to numerous security concerns, including civil unrest, clients are advised against all non-essential travel to Bangladesh. Persons in Rajshahi division on 1 December should monitor local media for updates and developments, minimise movement as far as practically possible and avoid all protests and strike-related activity.


CHINA (Country risk rating: Medium); 28 November; Several killed in separatist violence in the XUAR

At least 15 people were killed in possible separatist-related violence in Shache (also known as Yarkant) county, in China's restive Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), on 28 November. Although information relating to the incident is not clear, it is believed that a group of armed assailants attacked shoppers in a commercial street in an unknown location of the county with knives and crude explosives. Four civilians were killed and 14 others injured before security forces arrived on the scene, killing 11 attackers. As a result of the incident, the security force presence in the affected area has been increased considerably. Authorities have linked the attack to separatist tensions in the region. The tensions in the XUAR stem from claims of China's authoritative and repressive actions towards the region's Uighur population, which has resulted in a separatist insurgency in the XUAR, with Uighur separatists striving for the creation of an independent East Turkestan state. This insurgency has resulted in a number of similar incidents of violence in recent years; in July 2014, at least 96 people were killed in an incident of separatist-related violence in Shache county. As a result of the heightened security measures, localised travel disruptions should be anticipated. It should also be noted that Chinese authorities heavily restrict access to information on the security situation; consequently, as is the case with this incident, reports of separatist attacks may only emerge several days after the incident. Clients in Shache county and the wider XUAR are advised to exercise heightened security awareness at this time and make allowances for travel disruptions resulting from the possible increased security measures.


HONG KONG (Country risk rating: Low); 30 November; (Update) Low-level clashes reported between police and protesters

Low-level clashes were reported between police and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong's Admiralty district on 30 November. The scuffles, which resulted in a number of injuries, followed calls by protest leaders for demonstrators to occupy government offices and the office of Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying over the night of 30 November through to 1 December. In addition to having gathered outside government offices, resulting in the temporary closure of the offices, protesters occupied parts of Lung Wo Road, a key road in the Admiralty district. As a result of the violence, at least five arrests were made. This is the latest round of low-level violence after scuffles between police and protesters resulted in the arrest of almost 30 people overnight on 28 and 29 November in the Mong Kok district. The protesters, led by the pro-democracy civil society organisation, Occupy Central with Love and Peace (locally referred to as Occupy Central), have been engaged in a civil disobedience campaign since 22 September. They have been calling for democratic and electoral reforms in the special administrative region ahead of the 2017 chief executive elections. Given the ongoing nature of the protests and the unwillingness of local government officials to accede to protesters' demands, further protest action and possible associated violence are likely. Persons in Hong Kong are advised to avoid all related protests and demonstrations as a precaution against civil unrest. Allowances should be made for localised travel disruptions, and itineraries should be kept flexible to allow for associated delays. Clients should monitor local media for updates.


INDONESIA (Country risk rating: High); 1 December; Heightened security measures in Papua and West Papua provinces

Heightened security measures should be anticipated in Indonesia's Papua and West Papua provinces for the 1 December anniversary of the 1961 unilateral declaration of independence by ethnic Papuans, and the anniversary of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The OPM comprises ethnic Papuans, who are culturally and religiously distinct from ethnic Indonesians. The group seeks a separate state consisting of Indonesia's West Papua and Papua provinces, and has engaged in a decades-long conflict with the Indonesian government. This day has historically been a time of heightened tensions; despite a July 2006 statement by OPM leaders that they would pursue independence through non-violent means, on 1 December 2011, pro-independence rallies were held in several urban centres in Papua province, including the provincial capital, Jayapura, where skirmishes were reported. A similar rally was held in the town of Timika, where at least four people were shot and injured during a violent confrontation between those attending the rally and security forces. Although there have been no calls for protest action on the day by various pro-independence groups, past precedent suggests that these may occur with little notice and may garner considerable support from local communities. Should they take place, a forceful response from security forces is likely. Clients are advised against non-essential travel to the provinces of Papua and West Papua, due to regular incidents of violent civil unrest. Persons currently in the region are advised to exercise extreme vigilance and to avoid the affected areas and any possible protests and concentrations of security forces.


PHILIPPINES / VIETNAM / CAMBODIA / LAOS; 28 November to 1 December; Disruptions and casualties reported due to Tropical Storm Sinlaku

Tropical Storm Sinlaku has affected parts of the Philippines, south central Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos since 28 November. At least four people have been reported dead, two injured and eight missing since the storm made landfall over the Philippines. The storm system had progressed in a north westerly direction, affecting the Philippines, and made landfall over Vietnam on 29 November. It then moved over Cambodia and Laos, weakening into a tropical depression on 1 December. The storm has brought heavy rains and strong winds to the region and has subsequently caused flooding in low-lying areas and landslides in mountainous regions. Disruptions to air, maritime, road and rail transport, as well as to utilities, such as water and electricity, are ongoing. The Indochinese Peninsula, where the four countries are located, experiences tropical storms from June to December and although the risk of them occurring will decrease in the coming months, the possibility of one affecting the region cannot be discounted. Persons in the affected countries are advised to exercise caution, especially in low-lying and mountainous areas. Clients are advised to anticipate travel disruptions and confirm all transport with their service or travel provider. In addition, local media should be monitored for updates and advisories from the authorities. For more information and advice relating to tropical storms, please click here.


Not sure your travel plans are safe? red24 can provide comprehensive travel safety reports. For more information, click here

 

Europe and Russia

BELGIUM (Country risk rating: Medium); 1 December; (Update) Strike action planned across country

The latest in a series of union-led strikes is set to commence in four provinces across Belgium on 1 December. The strike action, called by the FGTB, ACV-CSC and CGCLB unions, is scheduled to take place in the provinces of East Flanders, West Flanders, Namur and Liege. The strikes have been called in opposition to austerity measures set to be introduced in 2015, following controversial amendments to the country's labour legislation. The strike action is expected to be well observed and result in significant disruptions to transport, utility and business services. An increased demand for alternative public transport services is also likely on the day. In addition, given past precedent, associated demonstrations are also likely to take place. It should be noted that further union-led strike action has also been scheduled for 8 and 15 December. Clients in Belgium, particularly in the above-mentioned provinces, are advised to anticipate transport and service disruptions on the day. Clients are advised to contact their travel provider or the applicable transport operator to confirm the status of services. Clients are also advised to monitor local media for updates on further strike action or any related demonstrations.


FRANCE (Country risk rating: Medium); 29 November; Activists call for anti-police brutality protest in Toulouse

An unsanctioned anti-police brutality protest, led by the collective ZAD 31 and supported by students of the University Jean-Jaures, took place in Toulouse, in France's south west Midi-Pyrenees region, on 29 November. Participants gathered at the Place Arnaud Bernard at 13:30 local time. Additional police were deployed to maintain order. Anti-police brutality demonstrations have been a regular occurrence in various cities in France in recent months. These have taken place to commemorate the death of an environmentalist protester who died during demonstrations against the Sivens dam project in Albi, in the Midi-Pyrenees region, on 26 October. Civic groups have joined the protests and called for related demonstrations to be held in opposition to the French government's austerity measures related to issues of security, environment and labour laws. A number of these gatherings have been marred by violent clashes between police and protesters. Local authorities have in turn banned these demonstrations, due to the possibility of civil unrest. The 29 November protest was poorly attended and concluded without any major incidents. Due to the emotive nature of these demonstrations, further protests are expected in the short- to medium-term. Persons in France are advised to monitor local media for announcements of other possible related gatherings in their particular area of interest. Clients are further advised to avoid such gatherings and concentrations of security personnel as a precaution.


FRANCE (Country risk rating: Medium); 28 November to 1 December; Adverse weather results in casualties and disruptions

Adverse weather conditions have resulted in the deaths of at least five people and caused widespread disruptions to travel and public utility services across south eastern France since 28 November. The worst-affected areas are those located in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur and Pyrenees-Orientales regions. Weather-related casualties were reported in the towns of La Londe-les-Maures, Grimaud and Hyeres, where heavy rainfall had triggered flash floods. Tornados were also reported in the towns of Serignan and Nissan-lez-Enserune, both located in the Herault department, which resulted in property damage. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes due to the risk of flash flooding and the overflow of the Agly and Berre rivers. Road networks, telecommunication services and electricity supplies have been also been affected in the aforementioned regions. Inclement weather is forecast to continue in the coming days, which is likely to exacerbate the risk of further flooding in the affected regions for the near-term. Accordingly, further disruptions to both localised travel and public utilities should be anticipated in the affected areas. Persons in the affected areas are advised to follow directives issued by the relevant authorities and to monitor local news for updates on the status of roads and public transport services. Localised travel disruptions should be expected, and travellers should plan accordingly; clients are advised to confirm the status of their travel arrangements with their respective service providers.


GERMANY (Country risk rating: Medium); 1 and 2 December; Lufthansa pilots set to strike

Lufthansa, pilots affiliated with Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) labour union have announced they will go on strike on 1 and 2 December. The labour action will affect short- and medium-haul flights from 12:00 local time on 1 December, until 23:59 on 2 December, and long-haul flights from 03:00 until 23:59 on 2 December. This is the latest strike action after the pilots' union undertook strike action on 20 and 21 October, which resulted in the cancellation of approximately 1,500 flights. The industrial action by Lufthansa pilots has been called over a dispute pertaining to early retirement and benefits with Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Significant disruptions to Lufthansa services are anticipated. Furthermore, an increase in demand on other carriers is also likely. Clients scheduled to fly with Lufthansa on the aforementioned dates are advised to contact the airline or their travel provider to confirm the status of their flight(s).


GERMANY (Country risk rating: Medium); 26 to 30 November; Disposal of WWII bomb leads to disruptions in Dortmund

Approximately 16,500 people were evacuated in Dortmund, located in western Germany, following the discovery of a Second World War-era bomb on 26 November. A mandatory evacuation order had been in place since 28 November and was in effect for a 1.5km radius around the bomb. An additional 1,000 emergency services personnel took part in the disposal operation. The operation took place at 12:00 local time on 30 November and was successfully completed later that day. A number of business and transport services, including rail services, had been suspended for the duration of the operation. Rail services have since resumed and roads have been opened. Urban centres in Germany were subject to heavy bombing during the final stages of the Second World War; many devices failed to explode and have subsequently been found during construction work. The disposal or detonation of these bombs generally concludes without incident, although this can often result in significant travel disruptions. Clients should anticipate disruptions to public transport and adjust their travel plans accordingly when in areas affected by an evacuation order.


ROMANIA / MOLDOVA; 1 December; Great Union Day to be commemorated in major cities

Countrywide commemorations for Great Union Day are ongoing in Romania on 1 December. The largest event will occur in the city of Cluj-Napoca, located in Cluj county, where a military parade will take place from 13:00 local time along Boulevard 1 Decembrie 1918. Commemorative events are also being held in the city of Alba Iulia. A significant security force deployment and road closures have been reported in both cities, as well as in the capital, Bucharest. Furthermore, commemorative events are also set to take place in Moldova on the day. Great Union Day marks the anniversary of the declaration of the unification of Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with Romania in 1918. In Moldova, the day serves as a convenient campaign platform for several civil groups from both Romania and Moldova that advocate for the unification of the two countries. The unification of Moldova and Romania remains a contentious issue in Moldova, with a number of civil movements either supporting or opposing the proposition. Accordingly, demonstrations either supporting or opposing unification are a possibility in Moldova on 1 December. In 2013, a number of gatherings on this issue were held throughout Moldova; the majority concluded peacefully. Localised traffic disruptions are anticipated in the vicinity of all commemorative events. Clients in major cities in Romania are advised to expect increased security measures, as well as possible traffic restrictions, at key locations. Persons in Moldova are advised to avoid all associated gatherings as a precaution due to the risk of civil unrest.


Follow us on Twitter@red24

 

Middle East and North Africa

ALGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 27 to 28 November; Casualties reported following protest in Touggourt

According to reports on 29 November, violent protests broke out between protesters and police in Touggourt, the capital of Touggourt District in Algeria's Ouargla province, late on 27 November and continued on 28 November. The violence reportedly erupted when protesters blocked access to the national highway, RN3, and attempted to set the police station and a fuel tank alight. In the ensuing conflict, at least two people were killed and an additional 40 others injured. Protesters gathered in the town to protest against the government, over concerns regarding service delivery and unemployment. Such demonstrations are a regular occurrence in the country and usually degenerate into violence. In response to the violence, the government deployed additional security forces to the town, and a number of protesters who had been arrested have been released. Further protests in the town and elsewhere remain possible for the short- to medium-term. Persons in Algeria, particularly in Touggourt, should monitor local media for updates and announcements of additional related demonstrations in Touggourt and elsewhere. Clients in the affected area are advised to avoid all large street gatherings and security force concentrations as a precaution against civil unrest.


EGYPT (Country risk rating: High); 28 to 30 November; Casualties following violent unrest in Cairo

Violent civil unrest in Egypt, including in the capital, Cairo, has left at least six dead and scores more wounded since 28 November. On 30 November, mostly peaceful protests occurred at a number of universities, including in the city of Alexandria, to denounce an Egyptian court's decision to acquit former president, Hosni Mubarak, of charges relating to the deaths of demonstrators in 2011. Related protests in Cairo's Abdel Moneim Riad and Tahrir squares, as well as surrounding areas, on 29 November resulted in at least two deaths. Four people were killed and scores more wounded in violent civil unrest on 28 November. The violence occurred at anti-government demonstrations called for by the Salafi Front in the Mataf Al Matrya of area of Cairo after police opened fire on demonstrators. Anti-government protests are frequently called in Egypt, including in Cairo. The acquittal of Mubarak, who had been standing trial, along with several former members of his government, on charges relating to the period of civil unrest in 2011 which eventually led to his ouster, as well as other charges relating to corruption, is likely to lead to further protest calls in the near-term. There is a high probability of civil unrest at all street gatherings in Egypt; significant clashes between both protesters and security forces, as well as between rival protesters, have frequently occurred in the past. Public squares, mosques, state facilities and universities remain the most likely gathering points for such demonstrations. Clients in Egypt are advised to avoid all street protests as a precaution and to monitor developments closely. Particular caution and vigilance are advised in the vicinity of the aforementioned likely gathering points.


EGYPT (Country risk rating: High); 28 November; Egyptian army colonel shot and killed in Cairo

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed an Egyptian army colonel outside a hotel in the district of Gesr al-Suez in Egypt's capital, Cairo, on 28 November; two other soldiers were injured in the incident. This is the latest of several attacks in Egypt that have been targeting police officers and military personnel this year. In the past, these have been perpetrated by Sinai-based extremist groups and militants sympathetic to Islamist parties in the country. Generally, these militants hold anti-Israel and anti-Western positions. Attacks in the future against areas frequented by foreign nationals, including hotels, embassies and tourist sights, remain possible. This latest incident occurred ahead of scheduled countrywide protests by Islamist groups on 28 November that took place in various cities, including in Cairo. Persons currently in the capital are advised to limit their travel near security force personnel and facilities as a precaution. Clients are advised against all travel to the North Sinai governorate due to the threats from crime, kidnapping and terrorism. The risk is particularly high in the vicinity of the shared borders with the Gaza Strip and Israel.


Be the first to know about security risks in your location with red24 alerts. For more information, click here

 

Sub-Saharan Africa

NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 28 November; Scores killed in bomb attack in Kano

Over 120 people were killed and 270 more injured during twin suicide bombings at the Kano Central Mosque in the city of Kano, capital of Nigeria's eponymous northern state, on 28 November. The incident occurred during Friday prayers. There have been no immediate claims of responsibility; however, suspicion is likely to fall on the Boko Haram Islamist extremist sect. Although the group primarily targets government, security and Christian-related interests, Boko Haram has previously targeted Islamic interests that are deemed to be moderate or critical of the sect's insurgency. Due to various security concerns, all travel to Kano state, as well as a number of other north eastern states, is advised against. Persons in the state should implement robust personal and residential security precautions at all times. These include coordinating all movements in the presence of a security escort and ensuring that all accommodation is sought within secure compounds.


NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 28 November; Foreign nationals kidnapped in Emakalakala, Bayelsa state

One Indian and two Pakistani nationals have reportedly been kidnapped in the town of Emakalakala, located in the Ogbia local government area of Nigeria's southern Bayelsa state, on 28 November. The whereabouts of the victims, who are employees of a construction company, remain unclear at this time. There is a high kidnap for ransom and extortion (KRE) threat in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta region, where highly organised kidnapping gangs are known to operate. Nigerian criminal gangs generally select their victims on an opportunistic basis, targeting those perceived as wealthy and/or vulnerable. However, increasingly professional and experienced gangs are known to carry out surveillance prior to abductions and have also been known to make use of informants within the targeted organisations. Kidnappings are generally perpetrated for financial gain and most victims are released unharmed after being held for relatively short periods of time. However, rescue efforts by Nigerian security forces have resulted in casualties in the past. Due to the persistent threats of kidnapping, conflict and crime, clients are advised against all travel to the Niger Delta region. Persons in or planning to travel to the region are advised to implement comprehensive travel, residential and personal security measures and consider the use of a security escort, particularly if travelling outside of major urban centres. Clients are further advised to avoid travel after dark, as far as practically possible.


NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 29 November; Suspected Boko Haram attack in Shani, Borno State

Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked residents in the town of Shani, located in Nigeria's north eastern Borno State, on 29 November. Although confirmed casualty figures are currently unavailable, local media reports have indicated that scores were killed and wounded in the attack. Communications in the town have been largely cut off since the attack. Borno has experienced an increase in Boko Haram assaults in recent weeks in what appears to be a new campaign to assimilate and control territory. The latest increase in violence in the country highlights the fragility of a purported ceasefire agreement between Boko Haram and the government, and is indicative of the fact that the security environment in Nigeria is unlikely to improve in the short-term. Accordingly, further violence in the form of armed assaults and bombings are likely throughout the state. Due to various security concerns, all non-essential travel to Nigeria continues to be advised against. In light of the Boko Haram insurgency, clients are further advised against all travel to a number of the northern and central states, including Borno, which has been significantly affected by insurgent-related violence. Persons travelling to the region despite this advisory should implement robust personal and residential security precautions at all times; these should include coordinating all movements within the presence of a security escort and ensuring that all accommodation is sought within secured compounds.


Looking for comprehensive crisis management assistance services? For more information, click here