Travel Safety Summary - October 2018

Travel Safety Summary – October 2018

Ares Risk Management is here to help and support the travelling business community, keep you and your personnel safe while travelling – especially if your business takes you to some of the worlds at risk, crisis or conflict zones.

Before our Travel Trends & Risk Report, we’d like to remind you that when travelling abroad, even to countries which are considered “safe”, we live in a dangerous world. While conflict or terror attacks might not be prevalent in the country or city you are visiting, all countries and cities suffer from crime, be aware of the types of crime you might encounter. We would also like to remind you that weather may cause disruption to your travel plans. We also advices that you consider health issues and ensure that you are immunised (if need be) prior to travelling. It is also worth noting that some over the counter and prescription medications which a legal and freely accessible in the UK and Europe might be considered contraband in other countries so please be sure that you are aware of the issues you may face when travelling abroad!

If you are travelling in October or at any time for that matter and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment,
or if you need International Executive Close Protection Services please do not hesitate to contact us at:
Ares Risk Management.

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World Conflict Map - October 2018

LOOKING BACK AT SEPTEMBER 2018 AND SETTING THE SCENE FOR THIS MONTHS’ OUTLOOK

In September, Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists and security forces stepped up attacks and violence could rise around the 7 October presidential vote. In Afghanistan, parliamentary polls are likely to be marred by violence and their results contested.

Yemen missed an opportunity as Huthi rebels refused to take part in UN-led consultations and fighting resumed outside Hodeida, this does not bode well for October, where increased fighting is likely.

Militia fighting worsened in Libya’s capital and militant attacks rose in eastern Burkina Faso. Ethiopia’s capital saw a spate of ethnic violence and Al-Shabaab carried out ambitious attacks in Somalia’s capital and regional states cut ties with the federal government, risking worse political divisions and violence in coming weeks.

In Syria, a Turkey-Russia deal seems to have averted a major offensive on rebel-held Idlib, only time will tell if this precarious peace takes root in October.

Djibouti and Eritrea agreed to work toward normalising relations, and a surprise electoral result in the Maldives gave hope for a peaceful political transition.

In Guatemala, the president’s attempt to dismantle a UN-backed anti-corruption body prompted a political crisis, while a significant confidence-building measure in Georgia’s conflicts with its breakaway republics broke down.

In East Asia, a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea opened up prospects for denuclearisation.

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The Risk Colour Code LegendRisk Colour Code Legend

Remember: Low Risk does not mean No Risk!

RISK  COUNTRY
Escalating Risk from High to Very High CAMEROON

In the run-up to Cameroon’s presidential elections, both the security forces and militants fighting for the independence of the English-speaking zone intensified attacks in the Anglophone west. Two flashpoints could trigger more flare-ups:

  1. the one-year anniversary of separatists’ declaration of independence on 1 October, and
  2. the presidential poll, which separatist militants have pledged to disrupt.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High AFGHANISTAN

Political tensions are also growing in Afghanistan as it moves closer to its 20 October parliamentary elections. The continued high level of violence across the country makes it harder to hold the elections, increasing the risk of disenfranchisement or fraud, and raising the risk of a contested vote. Observers fear that Islamic State-Khorasan Province and the Taliban may step up attacks.

YEMEN

The collapse of pre-talks between Yemen’s conflicting parties sparked renewed fighting near the Huthi-held port city of Hodeida. The UN continues to work to mediate and develop confidence-building measures, but the battle for Hodeida is now imminent and could involve some of the potentially bloodiest fighting as the war approaches its fourth anniversary. A mediation solutions remains the best option, as ongoing war would be catastrophic for Yemen and the surrounding regions.

High Risk Area LYBIA

In Libya, armed groups from towns surrounding the capital Tripoli intensified their offensives on the city in a bid to oust militias based there and put pressure on Prime Minister Faiez Serraj to step down. 

SYRIA

There was some respite in Syria’s north west, as Turkey and Russia signed an agreement that seems to have averted an offensive by pro-government forces on rebel-held Idlib province. Presidents Erdoğan and Putin said they would work with their allies to create a demilitarised zone on the edge of Idlib to be policed by Turkish and Russian forces. It is hoped that the international community will support the plan as it offers some hope of preventing another humanitarian catastrophe. 

Escalating Risk from High to Very High BURKINA FASO

Burkina Faso experienced a marked rise in attacks on both civilians and security forces in the east, embroiling the country further in the Sahel’s interlocking conflicts. The military responded with airstrikes and ground operations against as-yet-unidentified armed groups, while thousands protested in the capital against growing insecurity.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High SOMALIA

In the Horn of Africa, Somalia’s regional states severed ties with the federal government, plunging the country into a new political crisis and triggering a clan-based standoff in Galmudug state. This political fragmentation could continue, creating yet more opportunities for Al-Shabaab, which escalated its attacks in the capital and remains a menace in the region. 

Moderately High to High Risk ETHIOPIA

Identity-based violence rocked Addis Ababa, capital Ethiopia, and surrounding areas, as ethnic Oromo – who see themselves as long side-lined – targeted minority groups within the country.

De-escalation from Moderately High Risk to Moderate Risk ERITREA AND DJIBOUTI

Following Ethiopian encouragement began talks to resolve their decades-old border dispute.

Possible escalation from a Moderate risk to Moderately High Risk GEORGIA

Following months of growing crisis in the main negotiation forum for Georgia’s conflicts with its breakaway republics, de facto South Ossetian officials walked out of a meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, bringing the only communication channel to tackle practical problems in the conflict zones closer to collapse.

GUATEMALA

Guatemala became submerged in a political and constitutional crisis after President Morales renewed his battle to expel the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, and defied a Constitutional Court ruling that its head be allowed to re-enter the country.

De-escalation from Moderately High Risk to Moderate Risk KOREAN PENINSULA

South Korean President Moon visited Pyongyang on 18-20 September for his third summit meeting this year with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The resulting Pyongyang Declaration stated that Kim agreed to allow international observers to oversee the closing of a missile test site and launch-pad while expressing a “willingness” to permanently dismantle the main Yeongbyeon nuclear complex provided the U.S. takes unspecified “corresponding measures”.

Moderate risk falling to Low RiskM MALDIVES

In a surprise result in the Maldives’ presidential elections, opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih defeated incumbent President Yameen. Widely criticised for his government’s crackdown on the political opposition, judiciary, and media, Yameen said he accepted the result, and the security forces pledged to uphold it, paving the way for an orderly transfer of power.

 

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