Monthly Travel Risk Summary Report

January 2021 – Travel Risk Summary Report

Welcome to January,

Ares Risk Management is here to help and support the travelling business community. We are here to provide you with the intelligence and threat trends which will 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.

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 varying types and levels of crime. Be aware of the types of crime you might encounter.

We would also like to remind you that the weather may disrupt your travel plans. We also advise that you consider health issues and ensure that you are immunised (if need be) before 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 check what medications are allowed and which are considered contraband.

If you are travelling at any time this year and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment, focused on your travel plans and itinerary before deciding whether you need the services of an International Executive Close Protection Team or not, please do not hesitate to contact us at Ares Risk Management.

~ SETTING THE SCENE FOR JANUARY  ~

Coronavirus (aka Covid-19, SARS-COV-2) has continued to keep the world in varying levels of disarray, “lockdown” and economic shrinkage. While some business sectors were slowly opening up, recent localised spikes in infection rates have led to the third national “lockdown” in the UK, which is not likely to end until March 2021. This present unique challenges for those that have to travel as the current advice is to “stay home” and work from home wherever possible. Roll-out of the Covid Vaccine is progressing across the UK with the most vulnerable groups being vaccinated first and with some change to the vaccination process so that more people can be vaccinated in the 1st wave.

Talks amongst the international carriers suggest that in the short term, testing prior to boarding a flight will continue and only those with a negative test will be allowed to travel.

The current expectation is that as the vaccination roll-out will be in phases and when bearing in mind that the latest medial advice suggests that it could take up to 2-months before a person who has been vaccinated will have immunity a return to increased freedom of movement isn’t expected till March-April 2021.

The UK government continues to advise UK  travellers essential journey’s only are allowed

The latest news on the Coronavirus can be found here:

  1. Government Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
  2. UK Government – Coronavirus Advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  3. NHS Coronavirus Advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/   

Weather Hazards & Natural Disasters

EARTHQUAKES

In the first 8-days of January 2021, there have been seven earthquakes to date. Four of the seven earthquakes were oceanic and had little to no impact on human life and settlements.

  • 6th January 2021 - Papua, Indonesia 
    A magnitude 4.2 quake struck 79 km northeast of Sorong, West Papua Indonesia at a depth of 10Km, while mild shaking was felt in the region there have to date been no reports of casualties or damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • 5th January 2021 - The Philippians
    A magnitude 4.9 earthquake near Bobon, Davao Oriental, Davao, Philippines. Towns and cities near the epicenter where the quake might have been felt as very weak shaking include Bobon (pop. 4,500) located 24 km from the epicenter, Tamisan (pop. 2,900) 24 km away, Tibanbang (pop. 7,800) 39 km away, Mati (pop. 105,900) 39 km away, La Union (pop. 5,200) 40 km away, Sigaboy (pop. 8,000) 42 km away, Batobato (pop. 9,700) 43 km away, Lupon (pop. 27,200) 54 km away, and Davao City (pop. 1,212,500) 102 km away. To date there have been no reports of casulties or damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • 6th January 2021 - Indonesia
    A strong earthquake registered as Magnitude 6.1 hit North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The epicenter was located 60 km (37 miles) SSW of Gorontalo (population 144 195), and 108 km (67 miles) N of Luwuk (population 47 778), Indonesia. There are 1 130 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles). 2 287 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking and 2 576 000 weak. a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick with concrete floor and precast concrete frame with wall construction.
  • 8th January 2021 - Vanuatu
    An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 shook the southern coasts of the Vanuatu archipelago, within the South Pacific. No tsunami alert was issued after this quake and to date there have been no reports of casualties or damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • 8th January 2021 - Kermadec Islands, New Zealand
    A strong earthquake registered as Magnitude 6.3 hit the Kermadec Islands, New Zealand at 00:28 UTC. The reported depth of the quake is 224 km (139 miles). This is the second Magnitude 6+ earthquake to hit this region since a Magnitude 6.2 quake on January 6. The epicenter was located 932 km (579 miles) NE of Ngunguru and 953 km (592 miles) NE of Whangarei, New Zealand. There are no people living within 100 km (62 miles). There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.

CYCLONES, HURRICANES & TYPHOONS


The Hurricane Season
across the Caribbean/ Bahamas/Florida and Carolina’s/Mexico and Northern South American countries spans from the 1st June through to the end of November annually.

The Typhoon Season in Japan and Western Pacific spans from July to October.

Cyclone Season – South Pacific runs annually from November to  April.

________________________________________________________

With the South Pacific's annual Cyclone Searson in full swing,

  • 30 Dec – 3 January 2021 - North Queensland, Australia
    Queensland has been hit by massive flooding as ex-tropical cyclone Imogen blasts through parts of the state's north. Roads have been cut-off after a week's worth of rain fell in just one day, while trees uprooted during 100km/h wind gusts have smashed cars and homes.  And there are warnings there the situation is about to get worse, with more widespread heavy rainfall of up to 300mm and damaging winds on the way.  Residents are being warned to expect life-threatening flooding.   The areas include Herbert and Lower Burdekin and parts of North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders forecast districts.
  • 8th January 2021 – Mauritius & La Reunion
    Tropical Storm Danilo formed over the Indian Ocean and is moving west-southwest towards Mauritius and L Reunion, earlier today its epicentre was 530Km Northeast of the Rodrigues Islands, Mauritius, with a maximum sustained wind speeds of 74Km per hour. Danilo is forecast to continue west-southwest passing close to the Rodrigues Islands on the 9th January and approaching Mauritius and La Reunion on the 10th- 11th january with maximum sustained wind speeds of 80Km per hour. During the coming 48 hours heavy rain, strong winds and storm surges are forecast for Rodrigues, Mauritius and La Reunion.

FLOODING, LANDSLIDES, MUDSLIDES

Cyclonic activities have caused flooding, landslides, and mudslides as described in the section above.

  • Bolivia, 4th January 2021
    A short period of torrential rain and hail during the afternoon of 04 January 2021 caused flash flooding in parts of the city of Sucre in Chuquisaca Department, Bolivia. As of 05 January, 4 people had died and 6 were missing. The affected area was declared an emergency by local officials as the clean-up continues – material damage was caused to the municipality’s local market.

VOLCANOES

  • Mt. Merapi Indonesia – 7th January 2021
    Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano spewed avalanches of hot clouds Thursday morning as hundreds more residents were evacuated from its fertile slopes. Authorities evacuated more than 500 people living on the mountain in Magelang district on Java Island.

    Thousands of people already have had to leave their homes and farmland because of the dangers of Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano. Light eruptions continued during the day - one sending a column of hot clouds rising 200 metres into the air. The initial eruption was obscured by fog, but using seismic and other data, the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center estimated the hot clouds spread less than 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) from the crater.

    The geological authority had raised the alert level of Mount Merapi to the second-highest level in November after sensors picked up increasing activity. Tourism and mining activities were halted. Some evacuees had returned to the slopes after the activity subsided but had to leave again Thursday.

 

  • Mt Etna, Italy - 30th December to date
    Mt Etna, continues to show beautiful and sometimes quite spectacular strombolian activity from both the New SE crater and the Voragine central crater. During the past day, the latter had been more intense, while today, activity seems to have focused towards the main vent of the New SE crater, formerly known as the "saddle vent", now a deep crater half-open on its SE side due to the dramatic changes during the recent paroxysms. Glowing lava bombs are being ejected to heights of up to 100-200 m and often land on the crater's outer slopes.
    On January 6th, the explosive activity continued and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Toulouse warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose-up to an estimated 12000 ft (3700 m) altitude or flight level 120 and is moving at 25 kts in E direction.

DROUGHTS

  • Central Chile
    Chile has been hit by its worst drought in six decades, forcing officials to declare an agricultural emergency to prevent the collapse of farming. The country's capital Santiago and its outskirts, as well as Coquimbo, Valparaiso, and O'Higgins, are among the worst-hit areas. The emergency status, impacting almost half the country, will see relief measures fast-tracked for the agriculture industry, including drinking water and medicine for animals. In some areas, water for human consumption has become scarce.

Disease Alert

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

The Corona Virus (aka Covid-19, and SARS-Cov-2) continues to plague the world affecting not only health but national and global economies … whereas in the early summer it seemed like the world was making some headway in reducing the rates of infection and subsequent deaths – November saw a spike in infection and death rates so the UK went into another lockdown which lasted till the 2nd of December, around this same time (2nd December) the UK government announced that the roll-out of a vaccination program, which it is expected will be replicated worldwide throughout 2021. Also in late December 2020, it was announced that a new variant of the Sars-Cov-2 virus had been identified in the UK – this new strain spreads through populations faster than the original Sars-Cov-2, this resulted in much of the UK going into Tier 4, restrictions a few days after the Festive Holidays, with the UK being placed in the third national lockdown between Christmas and the New Year – it is expected that the UK will remain on Lockdown and/or phased Tier restriction levels till March 2021.

CHOLERA OUTBREAK: Nigeria | Cameroon | Ethiopia | Kenya | Tanzania| Zambia | Mozambique | India | Yemen | Burundi
DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK: Honduras | Maldives | Thailand | Cambodia | Laos | Malaysia | Nepal | Vietnam | Sri Lanka | Bangladesh | Philippines
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER OUTBREAK: Rwanda | South Sudan | Burundi | Uganda | South Africa
LASSA FEVER OUTBREAK: Nigeria | Liberia | Sierra Leone | Guinea | Honduras
MALARIA EPIDEMIC: Burundi | Togo
MEASLES OUTBREAK:  Democratic Republic of Congo | South Sudan | Madagascar | Nigeria| South America | Ukraine | Philippines | UK
POLIO OUTBREAK: Afghanistan | Cameroon | Democratic Republic of Congo | Ethiopia | Islamic Republic of Iran | Mozambique | Niger | Nigeria | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea |Somalia | Philippines
BUBONIC/PNEUMONIC PLAGUE

At this time the disease is not making a resurgence. Rather, it never left circulation, instead sticking to areas where contact with animals and humans is commonplace.

China, Mongolia, USA, Africa, South America

Bubonic plague cases have seemingly made a resurgence amidst the calamitous backdrop of 2020, with several people now dead after contracting the ancient disease. The shutdown of Suji Xincun is the latest measure taken by authorities in the vicinity of Mongolia, which has seen the bulk of cases spread from contact with animals. The district of Damao Banner, in which the village resides, is on a level three alert for plague prevention in hopes to stem the potential tide of infections, caused by bites from bacteria-carrying fleas.

In late December and early January, Russian authorities have captured and examined rodents in Siberia's Buryatia, after the bubonic plague was detected in neighbouring China and Mongolia. Health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said the animals tested negative.

Civil Unrest

There has been little change in the causes of civil unrest across the world over the past month – between the rising pressure of the pandemic and economic hardship, increased unemployment, alleged, perceived, and real police brutality, and other social issues as they all come to the fore to create the “perfect storm” which new analysis suggests 37 countries worldwide will be particularly vulnerable to, including some European Countries.

Pre and post elections unrests are to be expected in the USA, Africa, Cyprus, Lithuania, Georgia, Bosnia, Romania, Moldovia, Checz Republic, are also to be expected.

USA

The USA is named as a ‘high risk’ country in the new Civil Unrest Index - protests jump 186%. In the post-election environment and with almost 48% of the US electorate disputing the election results many analysts predict that the USA is on the brink of a second Civil War, and while it is predicted that the civil war may not manifest for between 2 – 4 years,  the situation is the USA is very volatile and unpredictable. During the 1st week of January 2021, Washington DC was the location of post-election protests

EUROPE

In a report which I highlighted as far back as July 2020, the EU is bracing itself for renewed civil unrest in the wake of Covid, the lockdowns, and the impacts of economic shrinkage across the EU Zone, and the impact of Brexit on Europe. In particular, as reported in some of the mainstream media, France’s Fishermen are particularly unhappy at the prospect of not being able to fish in UK waters, and it is likely that other EU countries which had some fishing right in the UK will also be much displeased.

Then, of course, there is the New Green deal which over the next two years will trigger significant social unrest across Northern Europe and America.

AFRICA

South Africa and Nigeria a just two of the fifty-four countries which are struggling with the challenge of Sars-Cov-2 set amid the backdrop of violently contested national election, terrorist and insurgent activity, civil war, economic down-turns, political corruption, allegations of police brutality and unprecedented socioeconomic disparity...

South Africa - The government under President Cyril Ramaphosa has received applause for its response to the coronavirus and mitigating its spread, however, the lockdown has caused civil unrest due to hunger, crime, and the potential for economic catastrophe.

Nigeria - Against the backdrop of a projected economic downturn in 2021, the federal and state governments have stepped up measures to fight crime, civil unrest and vices by creating jobs and investing in agriculture and security, among others in the year 2021.

  In another report by  Verisk Maplecroft, it has been predicted that up to 40% of countries around the world will experience civil unrest in 2020, with 75 countries being vulnerable to flashpoints.

Conflict Risk Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has not dampened the appetite for conflict risks in some of the most vulnerable of volatile countries in the world - UN calls for a unilateral cease-fire in regions which are at risk or in the grip of armed conflict was short-lived, and has generally failed. Many regions who were at risk or in the grip of political, economic, social and civil unrest over many months and in some cases years, have reverted to “business as usual” leading to escalations in conflict, violence, deaths and displacements.

If you are travelling to any of the countries listed below – take extreme care and exercise maximum caution as these countries at very high risk of descending into conflict and or experiencing a deepening of pre-existing conflict. If travelling to the countries listed below specialist Hostile Environment Close Protection and armoured transport should be considered a must!

 

The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Central African republic's government announced on Thursday (7 Jan 2021) a curfew throughout the country. "There is a curfew throughout the Central African Republic from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.," president Faustin-Archange Touadera announced in a statement read on national radio. The move is seen as an additional way to fight against the rebels' advance even if for the time being, it is being pushed back far from Bangui by loyalist forces, peacekeepers and some reinforcements from Russian and Rwandan fighters.

In a country plagued by civil war for eight years, presidential and legislative elections were held on December 27. But the election was marred by violence.

President Archange Touadera won five more years in power. However, fighting has continued in towns nationwide since the election, with the rebels threatening to march on the capital, Bangui.

The political opposition insists Faustin-Archange Touadéra's victory lacks legitimacy. They have demanded a re-run.

SOMALIA

Death tolls from attacks terrorist bombings of roads and public spaces are increasingly secretive in Somalia, as the country approaches next month’s elections, however, in two attacks which took place on Thursday 7th January, a government spokesperson confirmed two soldiers were killed. What is not clear is the number of residents who were at the scene when the explosion happened, although there are believed to be many severely injured.

This blast is just the latest to target members of the federal government. Earlier this week Somalia's police spokesperson, Sadiq Adan Ali Dodishe, survived a similar attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for either explosion, however, the jihadist group al-Shabab are suspected of being behind both attacks.

Also, on Thursday 7th January a coordinated joint action by the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command forces conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Saaxa Weyne, Somalia. Initial assessments indicate the strike killed five al-Shabaab members including the targeted al-Shabaab leaders.

The command's initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation.

UGANDA

You will regret why your mother gave birth to you, Ugandan police boss warns dissidents, ahead of the up-coming elections on the 14th January - Minister for prisons stated in another report that the Ugandan prison system had capacity to hold 30,000 inmates.

Meanwhile, dozens of campaign staff working for Bobi Wine, Uganda’s leading opposition candidate in next week’s presidential election, are being held in a military barracks after authorities defied court orders to release them, Wine’s lawyer said this morning. Musician/political activist, now the leading opposition leader, Bobi Wine has been arrested on numerous occasions during the campaigning, which in turn led to protests, and significant civil unrest, during which security forces are alledged to have killed 54 people.

Deteriorating situations

Covid-19 has had a massive effect on countries in Africa and South America. Over the past 12-months, global data has revealed that poor people are at greater risk of Covid-19 than those from more affluent neighbourhoods /countries. This has been a particularly hard-blow to many impoverished 3rd-world countries. Covid-19 has served to underscore inequality at all levels within the Maslow Hierarchy globally. This has led to violent demonstration and the death of protests in some regions,  which only served to inflame the already volatile situation.

While travel restrictions are in place – it is unlikely that you will be able to travel to the world’s conflict zones, which in turn will cause problems in these countries as humanitarian aid dries up.

When the ability to travel to countries on the cusp or grip of war, we seriously recommend that you request a detailed country and regional risk assessment, as well as engaging the services of professional and experienced Hotile Close Protection Operators and where necessary the use of armoured vehicles.

AFRICA

NIGER

Saturday 2nd January 2021, One hundred people were killed on Saturday in attacks on two villages in western Niger, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said following one of deadliest days in recent memory for a country ravaged by Islamist violence. Rafini announced the death toll in remarks broadcast on national television on Sunday 3rd January from a visit to the zone, near the border with Mali. He did not say who was responsible for the attacks.

Security sources had said on Saturday that at least 70 civilians had been killed in simultaneous attacks by suspected fighters on the villages of Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye. At least 20 people were also wounded. The attack is believed to be in retaliation to the earlier killing of two fighters by villagers, the minister added.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC See “Conflict Risk” Above
CHAD

In Chad, around ten people were killed in clashes between farmers and herders in the province of Salamat. The clashes erupted following a devastation of fields by a herd, a phenomenon that has become more pronounced in recent weeks in several provinces of the country.

The clashes took place between Friday and Saturday January 2, in several fields around the locality of Mourraye, in Salamat, in the south-east of Chad. After the devastation, ranchers prevented farmers from confiscating the herd, pending arbitration.

A fight then broke out, killing people.

The two sides then called for reinforcements and the clashes spread for several kilometres around. The police forces deployed managed to contain the battle.

On Sunday morning, it was revealed that eleven people were killed and thirteen injured. Twelve people involved in the clashes have been arrested. The police are deployed in the hamlets to recover the weapons of war that were used in the clashes.

Since October, dozens of people have been killed in this kind of clashes where the administrative authorities are often accused of siding with the breeders.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

The army has said it lost two soldiers but killed at least 14 militiamen while dislodging them from a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo following another massacre of civilians.

DRC troops on Friday (1st January) gained the upper hand over the ADF militia in Loselose village and “drove them out after three days of occupation and intense fighting”, Lieutenant Antony Mualushayi, the army spokesman in Beni region, told AFP news agency.

The ADF, which originated in the 1990s as a Ugandan Muslim rebel group, is one of the dozens of militias that are in the eastern provinces of the vast DRC.

It is blamed for the death of about 800 civilians over the past year in North Kivu province, which borders Uganda.

The group makes money notably through wood trafficking and DRC officials suspect some soldiers are complicit in its violent raids.

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia’s five-week conflict has ‘appalling impact on civilians’, UN rights chief says, demanding access to cut-off areas.

Ethiopia’s situation is “spiralling out of control with appalling impact on civilians” and urgently needs outside monitoring, the United Nations human rights chief warned on Wednesday.

Ethiopia, however, rejected calls for independent investigations into the deadly fighting in its Tigray region saying it “doesn’t need a babysitter”.

The government’s declaration came amid international calls for more transparency into the month-long fighting between Ethiopian forces and those of the fugitive Tigray regional government that is thought to have killed thousands, including civilians. At least one large-scale massacre has been documented by human rights groups, and others are feared.

SUDAN

Nearly 600 people have been taken to Tunaydbah camp in Sudan’s Gedaref State, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, after nearly two months of ongoing conflict across the border in Ethiopia, between federal Government troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said that it was impossible to gauge the level of fighting in northern Ethiopia amid continuing access restrictions.

Meanwhile, on 6th January 2021, Ethiopia accused Sudanese troops of killing “many civilians” in recent fighting over contested land at the nations’ border.

Tensions between the two countries have escalated since the conflict erupted in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Nov. 4, with several deadly clashes occurring on fertile farming land in the al-Fashqa area that straddles the border. The dispute risks drawing a third nation into a regional conflict that has already involved troops from neighboring Eritrea.

While in the Darfur region of Sudan, the 13 year UN African Union Peacekeeping mission came to an end on 31st December 2020, dispite recent violent clashes, which left fifteen people dead and many others wounded. Darfuri's in the main are fearful for their lives and believe that with the UN's withdrawal, there is a significant risk that civil war and ethnic cleansing resume.

MOZAMBIQUE

The insurgency in the northern province of Cabo Delgado of Mozambique is continuing unabated. This week, the insurgents attacked the village of Quitunda, which falls within the area where Total is building a billion-dollar Natural Gas industry.  This is the first time that the insurgency has attacked inside of the concession area, and shows that the insurgency may be growing in strength and influence.

The attack was repelled by local security forces. This area holds the largest gas project in Africa and is seen as essential for the growth of Mozambique. The gas project is worth more than 20 billion dollars, which is nearly twice the entire country’s GDP in 2018. This money would add jobs and bring in much needed money to a very poor area.

The insurgents are angered by the project however. They believe that all of the money and resources will be taken from the Cabo Delgado area and given to those already rich and powerful. Despite the groups link to ISIS, so far all of the attacks and pressure seem to be targeted against the government. However as the group continues to grow and their ties with Islamic State continue to strengthen, attacks against Christians could begin.

 

EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE

The situation in the Donbas Conflict zone is at high risk of deteriorating at any moment, and much depends on the authorities of the Russian Federation. With escalations in breaches of cease-fire agreements, this is a perilous time for the eastern Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine risks further deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations and greater escalation if Russia expands its presence in Ukraine or into NATO countries. Russia’s actions have raised wider concerns about its intentions elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and a Russian incursion into a NATO country would solicit a response from the United States as a NATO ally. The conflict has heightened tensions in Russia’s relations with both the United States and Europe, complicating the prospects for cooperation elsewhere including on issues of terrorism, arms control, and a political solution in Syria.

 

MIDDLE EAST

IRAQ

Basra – Friday 1st January 2021 - An Iraqi oil tanker was evacuated after a mine was discovered attached to its hull, and explosives experts were working to make it safe, Iraq's military said on Friday.

The tanker was in international waters about 28 nautical miles (52 km) off Iraq's coast in the Persian Gulf and supplying another ship with fuel when the device was discovered on Thursday afternoon, the military said in its statement.

Bagdad – Monday 4th January 2021 - Chanting anti-American slogans, thousands of Iraqis converged on a landmark square in central Baghdad on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of the killing of a powerful Iranian general and a top Iraqi militia leader in a U.S. drone strike.

Roads leading to Tahrir Square were closed off and security was tight as the crowds gathered in response to a call by powerful Iran-backed militias for a rally marking the occasion and demanding the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Meanwhile, on the 5th January 2021, Iraq’s Defence Minister warned that the country could be headed to a “civil war” in diplomats and diplomatic mission in the Green Zone continue to be attacked, by what Iraqi official describe as rogue “outlawed” groups and which US official describe as Iranian backed insurgents.

CENTRAL ASIA/ASIA/INDIA

NEPAL

As the political crisis in Nepal intensifies, and fuels conflict in the provinces, the Chinese ambassador in Kathmandu Hou Yanqi, has set tongues wagging that China could be making one final attempt to keep the flock of warring Communist leaders together. The ambassador met Nepal’s president B D Bhandari, who had not lost time in approving Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli's sudden decision to dissolve parliament on Tuesday 5th January 2021 and announced a new election for April/May 2021.

Oli, 68, has cited internal squabbling within his ruling Communist party and lack of political unity as reasons behind his Dec. 20 decision, which has triggered public outrage, protests, and demonstrations and has been labelled unconstitutional.

Over the next few months and in the run-up to the newly called for elections it is likely that the country will see a rise in protests and demonstrations.

 

If you are travelling at any time this year and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment, before deciding whether you need the services of an International Executive Close Protection Team or not, please do not hesitate to contact us at  Ares Risk Management.

Finally, we’d like to wish you a safe and COVID-19 free January

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