Monthly Travel Risk Summary Report

Welcome to March,

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 MARCH  ~

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 has slowly started to ease and it is anticipated that by April 12th life in the UK and the ability to travel will reasch some semblance of normality.

The UK Government has announced that UK citizens can take domestic holidays from the 12rh April while international travel for holidays will be allowed after May 15th 2021.

People seeking to leave Britain from March 8 will have to show a new permit proving they are travelling for essential reasons in a move to stop Easter holidays.

The idea of 'vaccine passports' has been embraced by some countries keen to welcome back holidaymakers as soon as possible. Cyprus has announced it will reopen to tourists who have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 from May 1. Israel and Greece have agreed to open a two-way travel corridor for vaccinated tourists in a bid to regenerate their struggling economies. While the Seychelles will welcome all visitors from March 25, irrespective of their vaccination status.

It is possible that anyone travelling overseas in 2021 will need to have vaccination certification to do so. Speak to your Travel Management Company to find out which countries are allowing visitors to enter without restriction or the need to quarantine if visitors have a valid Covid Vaccination Certificate.

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

During the past 30-days there have been a total of 174 earthquakes, of which 33 have occurred in the past 7-days and 3 in the past 24 hours. Of all these quakes, Japan, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, The Philippians and Indonesia have been the most vulnerable to the effect of quaking and possibilities of tsunami.

12th March 2021
Jakarta (ANTARA) - A 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled Wamena City in the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua on Friday at 8:16 Western Indonesia Time. To date there have been no reports of material damage, casualties or Tsunami alters; while a second quake of 4.8M has occurred in the past 15minutes, and while I was writing this report. It is too early to know if there has been material damage and/or casualties.

11th March 2021
During the past 14-days, the east coast of Japan from Ōfunato, Iwate region, in the north to Mito, Ibaraki region have experienced eight off-shore earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 4.6 – 4.9. With the 10th anniversary of the Fukashima disaster, yesterday (11th march 2021), Fukashima was once again subject to a 4.2 magnitude quake on the 7th March followed by a 4.6 magnitude quake on the 8th March. To date there have been no reports of material damage, casualties or Tsunami alerts in the region.

4th March 2021
One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the South Pacific in modern history triggered tsunami warnings across the ocean and forced thousands of people in New Zealand to evacuate. The magnitude 8.1 quake in the Kermadec Islands region about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from New Zealand's two main islands was the largest in a series of temblors over several hours, including two earlier quakes that registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3.

The tsunami threat caused traffic jams and some chaos in New Zealand as people scrambled to get to higher ground. Residents recorded videos of small wave surges in some places, including at Tokomaru Bay near Gisborne. In the afternoon, the National Emergency Management Agency said the threat had passed and people could return to their homes, although they should continue avoiding beaches.

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.

Since the beginning of March there have been four recorded Cyclones in the South Pacific region where the Cyclone Season has another six or so weeks to run.

In order of occurrence the cycles have been named as:

  1. Tropical Cyclone Marian, which developed between the 28th February and 6th March, in the mid-Indian Ocean, and in the course of its development and trajectory it boormeranged hand headed towards the south of western Australia as a Category 4 cyclone, (the highest rating for cyclones) and was expected to dissipate. At its height and on its approach to Australia the cyclone had consistent wind speeds of 185Km p/h.
  2. Tropical Cyclone Niran brought a damaging blow to New Caledonia and Australia despite not making landfall in either country, between the 1st and 8th On Friday, (05 March 2021) local time, Niran approached New Caledonia as a Category 5 Severe Tropical Cyclone on the Australian and Fiji tropical cyclone scales. This made Niran’s strength equivalent to that of a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Even with weakening winds, and not making direct landfall, Niran dealt a significant blow to New Caledonia causing damage and sending hundreds into shelters. While in the Cairns area of North Eastern Queensland, gale-force wind caused power outages affecting 48,000 people and caused with catastrophic damage in the bannan growing areas from Cooktown to Innisfail, with may farmers sustaining 90% – 100% damage to their crops, along with reports of structural damage, roofs gone and tree’s downed. There were also reports of people having to be rescured from flash flooding -
  3. Tropical Cyclone Iman, 7th and 8th of March 2021 had a low impact on people and infrastructure as it makes its way from the south-western Indian Ocean towards Mauritius, it was downgraded to a category one tropical storm.
  4. Tropical Cyclone Habana, 4th – 12th March, is currently located 774 km (418 nautical miles) east of Port Mathurin, Rodrigues Island, Mauritius, and has moved southwestward at 13 km/h (7 knots) over the past 6 hours. It is not expected to have a high impact on populations.

FLOODING, LANDSLIDES, MUDSLIDES

Peru – 1st – 5 March 2021
Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in parts of Piura Region in norther Peru. In total 182 homes were damaged and 5 destroyed. Three health facility buildings have also been damaged. The worst hit areas are was Tambogrande district where as many as 14,000 people were cut off after roads were flooded in areas around Malingas. There have also been reports of one fatality and nine-people missing.

Java Island – 14th February - 1st March 2021
Heavy rain caused flooding in Banyuwangi Regency, East Java Province. 46 homes were damaged and 230 people affected.

Algeria – Morocco – 5th – 7th March 2021
At least 10 people died or were missing after flash floods in Chlef Province of Algeria on 06 March 2021.

FOREST FIRE DANGERS

According to reports from “The Red Zone” in the USA, Australia’s bushfire service and other monitoring agencies worldwide, indicate that 2021, could well be a year if increased wild-fires.

USA - So far this month there are 12 wildfires sweeping across Alabama. A spring burning ban has been announced in New York State which comes into for on 14th March due to fears of increase risk of wildfires, in the state.

India - The satellite-based fire alarm system of the Forest Survey of India (FSI) detected 1,048 fire points across the State on the Thursday 12th March, as compared to 497 points on Wednesday. Apart from Similipal, wildfires have engulfed other forests including the ones in Swabhiman Anchal of Malkangiri where forest staff and fire fighters are being ferried in boats to douse the flames, threatening tiger reserves.

Argentina – At least seven people were injured and 15 more missing on Wednesday (10th March) as forest fires ripped through Patagonia. Some 200 people had to be evacuated and around 100 homes were damaged by fire in an area of forests and lakes popular with tourists close to the Andes mountain range. Locations affected by the flames include Lago Puelo, El Bolsón, El Maitén, Epuyén, Futaleufú and El Hoyo.

VOLCANOES

March got off to a busy start with volcanic activity – so far this month there have been six eruptions.

Guatemala – 4th March 2021
Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano continued to spew columns of ash thousands of feet (meters) into the air Thursday, but residents of hamlets on the volcano’s slopes have largely ignored a recommendation to evacuate, relying instead on folk traditions and their own knowledge of the peak to judge when it’s time to go. The national disaster relief agency said there were more eruptions Thursday, but with a decrease in their intensity. A popular volcano to climb all tourist hiking activities have been suspended while the volcano continue to erupt. Exposed populations 2,780,000 people within 30 miles Pacaya,

Nicaragua – 11th March 2021
San Cristobal volcano erupted Tuesday, (9th March) showering the north-western city of Chinandega in ash. Locals reported that a great blast rang out and the sky started to darken. Businesses had to close due to zero visibility and the intense odour of sulphur engulfed homes near to the volcano. After this intense blast, the volcano spent about 30-minutes spewing gasses and ash. There have been no calls for evacuation, at this time, however the volcanic activity is being monitored very closely by authorities.

Indonesia – 11th March 2021
Mount Sinabung, a rumbling volcano on Indonesia’s Sumatra island unleashed an avalanche of searing gas clouds down its slopes during an eruption on Thursday. During the eruption Mt Sinabung was shooting smoke and ash as high as 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) into the air and hot ash clouds were blowing 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) to the southeast. An alert has been maintained at the second-highest level while authorities closely monitor the volcano after sensors picked up increasing activity in recent weeks. Dormant for 400-years, this volcano reactivated in 2010, and has so far claimed 26 lives and forced 30,000 to evacuate/relocate. No casualties were reported, as a cause of yesterday’s eruption.

Ecuador – 11th March 2021
Sangay volcano erupted on Thursday, spewing clouds of ash as high as 8,500 meters (about 28, 890 feet) into the sky. The sky of Riobamba, the capital of the province of Chimborazo, was overcast by an ash cloud. Riobamba is at least 50 kilometres away from the volcano. The country's emergency service said public and private activities in Chimborazo were suspended after five counties received "significant" ash fall. People have been advised to wear protection for their eyes, mouths and noses and remain home. The volcano has been in an eruptive stage since 2019.

Japan – 1st  – 8th March 2021
Mt Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) has been visible nightly. An explosion at 18:10 on 1 March ejected lava bombs 600-900m away from the crater; an eruption plume was not confirmed. That same day the sulphur dioxide emission rate was high, at 2,900 tons per day. An explosion on 5 March produced an eruption plume that rose 2.7 km above the summit and ejected lava bombs 800-1,100 m away. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale). If volcanic activity of previous years is replicated this year, the volcano is now entering into a 6-week period of increased explosive activity.

Italy – 9th – present.
Mt Etna has been in a heightened state of activity since 16th February 2021. In the past 3.5 days since the last sudden explosions from the New SE crater, are increasingly pointing towards a new lava fountaining episode in the next hours (at the time of writing): Accompanied by rising tremor, intense strombolian activity has started at the New SE crater. As well, it would be more or less the same average interval Etna since the last episode as between the 10 previous ones, this would mean that the amazingly regular cyclic eruptive behaviour continues!

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 of 2020, it seemed like the world was making some headway in reducing the rates of infection and subsequent deaths – November saw the beginning of spikes in infection and death rates. Since the beginning of 2021, three new variant strains of Covid-19 have been identified. All three strains are considered to be more contagious than the original Covid virus, and there is speculation that these strains might be marginally more deadly than the original virus. Meanwhile the vaccine roll-out in the UK and other parts of the world is progressing well and the pharmaceutical companies which make the vaccines believe that the current Covid vaccines will help to protect against the new strains.

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

Civil Unrest

CIVIL UNREST

The Civil Unrest Index as produced by Maplecroft remain largely unchanged, although the list of event which have occurred during the first 15-days of march 2021, would indicate a bit of a surge. The analysis of the data continues to suggests 75 countries worldwide will be particularly vulnerable to increased incidents of social unrest including some 34 European Countries.

One of the primary triggers as previously stated has been the impact of Sars-Cov-2, which includes over 2.6 million dead and 117 million infected. No country in the world has remained untouched by Sars-COV-2. One year on from the declaration of the pandemic by the World Health Organization, evidence shows that crisis-affected countries have been especially hard-hit by the secondary impacts of the crisis, including rising poverty rates, a rise in domestic and other forms of violence and an erosion of trust between citizens and state; corruption of the electoral process, censorship and a decline in freedom of speech; yet it is to say that the secondary impacts as described by the WHO, are not exclusive to crisis affected countries – impoverished communities in the developed countries have also been hard-hit!

Europe London (14 March 2021) Protestors were angry at the police response to a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common last night, as well as a proposed new bill which would give police more powers to crack down on protests; and further erode the public right to challenge and hold accountable those in power.

UKAdvance Warning – Brexit Remainers are planning 5-days of protest across 10 UK cities in June 2021 to try and force the government to abandon Brexit and force the UK back into the EU. The all out Remainers protest is scheduled to start on 23 June 2021 to coincide with the 5th Anniversary of the Brexit Referendum.

 

Dublin – Following the anti-lockdown riots in Dublin of 28th February, which left one garda needing surgery for a ‘serious’ injury and others wounded are planning more street-battle attacks. Following appalling scenes of violence in Dublin, where fireworks were blasted at close range into gardaí, the angry mob are now targeting Cork and other parts of Ireland for March.

Geneva  (9 March 2021) A group of Europe-based international human rights defenders staged a demonstration against hate crimes in India in front of the United Nations Office in Geneva, demanding a probe into the Delhi riots massacre in which 53 people were killed.

Athens (9 March 2021) Rioting broke out in a suburb of Athens on Tuesday 9th March, in the evening as a protest against police violence turned ugly. Some 5,000 people gathered in the main square of the Nea Smyrni area in the south of the Greek capital to march against police brutality but order quickly broke down, with protesters throwing rocks and setting fire to bins and police firing tear gas and water cannons.

France - Discontent is brewing in France. Emmanuel Macron appears to have decided against a new national lockdown – for now. But his hand has arguably been forced by the French public, who have been out on the streets in large numbers, protesting against both an authoritarian security bill and any imposition of further Covid restrictions.

Brussels – (13 & 14 Match) In Brussels, police arrested over 200 people at an anti-lockdown protest at the weekend. ‘We remind you that there is no authorisation to come and demonstrate this Sunday’, tweeted the city police. In the age of Covid, public protest is only permitted with the approval of the state.

The Hague (14 March 2021) Dutch riot police used water cannon and batons on Sunday to disperse a crowd of several thousand anti-lockdown protesters gathered in the centre of The Hague a day before national elections. Dutch authorities had stopped train services to the city, the seat of government, to prevent more protesters arriving.

Budapest (13 & 14 March) protesters gathered to show their objection to Covid rules which they say have wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry. Activists called on restaurants to open in defiance of the law.

Vienna  (7 March 2021) Thousands turned out Saturday for the latest protest in Vienna against coronavirus restrictions and several arrests were made for breaching public order laws and Covid regulations, police said.

Copenhagen – (1 & 14 March) Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters marched through Copenhagen to protest restrictions put in place by the Danish government to curb the spread of COVID-19. The demonstration comes as the government announced on Wednesday that the restrictions will be eased in March, with some schools set to reopen.

Stockholm  (6 March) Hundreds of people staged a demonstration in central Stockholm on Saturday to protest against the government's coronavirus restrictions. The group of protesters was dispersed by police as the local authority said it was held without permission and was illegal.

Amsterdam  (7 March)  Around 700 residents gathered in Museumplein Square in Amsterdam on to protest against the country's COVID-19 lockdown. Police disbanded the demonstration and arrested 28 people, according to reports.

USA Los Angeles (14 March) Protesters were seen clinging onto a police vehicle which continued to drive away, in Los Angeles, on Saturday, during a rally to mark the one year anniversary of Breonna Taylor's death.
Australia (15 March) Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and other major cities across Australia this morning as part of a nation wide protests against sexism and gender violence.
ASIA/MIDDLE EAST MYANMAR has been shaken by the biggest protests since the Saffron Revolution, of 2007, when tens of thousands took to the street to demonstrate against the military coup. An internet shutdown by Myanmar’s authorities failed to deter demonstrators from gathering to demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi – Martial Law has been declared as protests turn deadly during the early days of March

TURKEY (11 March) Thousands of people joined a Women’s Day march in central Istanbul on Monday to denounce violence against women in Turkey where more than 400 women were killed last year. As in previous years, riot police put up barricades and blocked demonstrators from marching to the city’s main square, Taksim, citing security concerns. Unable to reach Taksim, the demonstrators walked in the opposite direction toward the shores of the Bosporus, where the march ended peacefully.

INDIA Thousands of farmers across India blocked roads on Saturday with makeshift tents, tractors, trucks and boulders to pressure the government to roll back agricultural reforms that have triggered months-long protests. While the initial protests were started by rice and wheat growers from northern India who camped out on the outskirts of New Delhi, demonstrations have spread across the country, especially in states not ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party. Farmers fear the reforms will leave them at the mercy of big corporate buyers, gradually ending the current practice of assured government purchases. Protests and strikes have been expanded in early March to protest against the privatisation of two state owned lending banks.

Also in India; Tibet’s struggle for independence gained newfound emphasis on March 10 when Tibetans marked the 62nd anniversary of their uprising by staging a protest outside the Chinese embassy. Members of the Tibetan Youth Congress and other Tibetan Students organizations held a protest outside the Chinese embassy in Delhi and tried to reach the gates of the embassy. The protestors were raising slogans and waiving Tibetan flags under the banner of the Tibetan Youth Congress. Around 70 workers of the Tibetan Youth Congress were detained and taken to the Chanakyapuri police station and later released. The protestors' faces were painted with the colours of the Tibetan flag, while slogan-shouting activists painted "Free Tibet" and "Boycott China Products" as well as "Quit China." Tibetans commemorate the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising on March 10 by paying tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Tibet.

Japan (6 March) A protest march started from National Stadium where the Game's opening ceremony is planned to be held, and went through the busy shopping street of Omote Sando. Protesters held banners and shouted slogans denouncing the Olympics and Paralympics.

AFRICA South Africa (10 March) (Johannesburg) – The South African police unlawfully used excessive and disproportionate force to disperse student protesters at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on March 10, 2021, killing a bystander, Human Rights Watch said today. Students at the university have been protesting a decision to block students with unpaid university fees from registering.

DAKAR, (March 8) – Clashes between police and thousands of demonstrators protesting at the detention of Senegal’s most prominent opposition leader have killed at least five people since last week. Ousmane Sonko was indicted and released on bail under judicial supervision on Monday but an opposition coalition has called for three days of protests from Monday. The unrest is the worst in a decade in Senegal, widely seen as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.

  In another report by  Verisk Maplecroft, it has been predicted that up to 40% of countries around the world will experience civil unrest in 2021, 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!

 

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC The Central African Republic began voting in the second round of a legislative election on Sunday as it battles back against a rebel insurgency the government has called an attempted coup. It will be the first time many will be able to vote after only one in three of those registered were able to cast their ballots in the first round in December due to the security fears. A little over a week before that vote, six of the armed groups that control two thirds of the country joined forces vowing to disrupt the election, march on the capital and overthrow the government of President Faustin Archange Touadera. Almost all polling stations were open on Sunday amid a heavy security presence, in an effort to avoid the disruption and carnage of the first round of elections.
SOMALIA The political impasse over when and how the next Somalian election will be conducted, coupled with the increasing number of attacks from the Islamist terrorist group, al-Shabaab, has put Somalia on an unpredictable path.

In Somalia's capital Mogadishu, no one seems to know where the next terror attack will come from. On Friday(12 March), 25 people were killed and many others injured when al-Shabaab militants targeted a popular restaurant. Before that, suspected al-Shabaab insurgents stormed the central prison in Bosaso city in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region. At least eight soldiers were killed, and more than 400 inmates were released from captivity. Puntland's military officials later said they had recaptured 87 of the hundreds of inmates that the armed Islamist extremists had freed. When you look at the atrocities perpetrated by terrorist groups in Mogadishu, it is very obvious al-Shabaab is taking advantage of the political unrest and the election impasse.

In addition to the insurgence and almost daily attacks against civilians, Somalia is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis due to natural disasters, the Covid Pandemic and ongoing conflict. 2.5 million people are at risk, as water shortages and locus plagues have devastated crops.

YEMEN Yemen’s Houthi movement and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in tit-for-tat attacks for years, with the Iran-aligned rebels intensifying missile and drone attacks in the past several weeks.

On Monday (8 March), the Houthis targeted the heart of a Saudi oil installation in its eastern province, pushing global crude oil prices to the highest level in two years. The latest escalation comes amid renewed diplomatic efforts by the United States and the United Nations to reach a ceasefire that would pave the way for a resumption of UN-sponsored political talks to end the six-year conflict in Yemen.

14 March - At least eight people, including guards, died and more than 170 were injured after a fire ripped through an immigration holding facility in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, the United Nations migration agency said. The total death toll from the fire on Sunday, whose cause remains unclear, could be higher, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Carmela Godeau said in a Twitter post.

 

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 Hostile Close Protection Operators and where necessary the use of armoured vehicles.

NIGER Insecurity continues to overshadowed the political stability of the country. Niger continues to be battered by armed groups on its southwestern border with Mali as well as its south-eastern frontier with Nigeria. Five years of violence in the former French colony have cost hundreds of lives with many more displaced. So far this month 33 Boko Haram insurgents' have been killed in clashes with security forces, on the Nigerian side of the boarder. But security is not the only concern for the people in Niger, a country of 23 million people. The country’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with a fall in the price of its top export uranium. It has also suffered due to the closure of the border with Nigeria, a key gateway for the import of essential goods.
CHAD Elements of Boko Haram Terrorists and their Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) counterparts operating along the fringes of the Lake Chad and the Tumbus met their waterloo when they encountered dogged troops of Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole on Saturday, 13 March, 2021. The combined troops of the Sector which were on clearance patrol along the fringes of the Lake Chad had advanced and cleared Daban Massara and Ali Sherifti villages among other settlements.
SOMALIA See Conflict Risk above
NIGERIA 12 March 2021 - Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru says Nigeria is in crisis and that the situation requires urgent attention. He stated this while appearing before the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee set up to audit arms and ammunition procured by the Armed Forces.

13 March 2021 - Former Governor of Lagos state and National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has issued a statement on the Farmer-Herder crisis rocking the country, he has been reported in saying “The herder-farmer dispute has taken on acute and violent dimensions. It has cost too many innocent lives while destroying the property and livelihoods of many others. It has also aggravated ethnic sentiment and political tension”. Despite the efforts of some of those in positions of high responsibility and public trust, the crisis has not significantly abated.

Analysis of the prevailing situation and conditions lead many to believe that it would not be an overstatement to say that Nigeria today faces an unprecedented threat to its very existence. The security situation throughout the country has brought into bolder relief. Citizen discontent with perceived governance deficits and with the apparent insufficient concern about their well-being by those in authority. Ethno-religious tensions, irritations and rivalries, and deep-seated inter-class resentment, were all simmering before, the pandemic, now threaten to explode into multi-locational theatres of conflict, in which no one is in charge and no one is safe. Increasingly, the perception by most Nigerians is that they are on their own. The country is, no doubt, in a serious crisis.

MAYANMAR 11th March 2021 The Myanmar military is using lethal tactics and an arsenal of battlefield weapons to carry out a “killing spree” against peaceful protesters who oppose the February 1 coup, Amnesty International said on Thursday after analysing video and photographic evidence from the past few weeks of mass protests. The cache of 55 video clips offer visual proof of the “systematic and premeditated killings”. These Myanmar military tactics are far from new, and many of the killings documented amount to extrajudicial executions.

Myanmar was  plunged into a political crisis on February 1 after the military arrested the country’s elected leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power in a coup, claiming without evidence that last November’s election was fraudulent.

In the weeks which have followed, there have been almost daily protests against the coup, and a mass civil disobedience campaign under which doctors, teachers, factory workers and others have gone on strike. The military has responded with increasing force resulting in the deaths of at least 50-people last week alone.

UKRAINE The war between Russia and the Ukraine continues unabated with reports that Russian hybrid forces have lunched at least multiple attacks per day in the eastern Ukraine.

It’s been reported that the type of weaponry used by the Russians against the Ukraine forces include 120mm and 82 mm mortars, anti-tank grenades and anti-tank rockets, in addition to small arms fire.

14 March 2021 - The armed formations of the Russian Federation violated the ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas 13 times, wounding a Ukrainian soldier. Despite pressure from Germany and other international governments on Russia regarding the annexation of the Crimea – Russia is unrelenting and the war continues.

HAITI As thousands of Haitians protest each Sunday against Jovenel Moïse, their embattled and increasingly authoritarian president, their protest signs and songs exhort the U.S. ambassador and the head of the United Nations mission in Haiti, who is also a career U.S. diplomat, “to stop supporting a dictatorship.” The protests reflect a broad consensus among politicians, intellectuals, lawyers and others in Haiti, supported by human rights experts and members of the U.S. Congress, that the Biden administration is propping up Moïse and preventing the emergence of a Haitian-led solution to the political crisis.

Taking Moïse’s side might have been an attempt to manage Haiti’s political crisis at a time when the administration’s attention is focused elsewhere. But Moïse proceeded as if this support provided a green light for continued repression. Unchecked, Moise is steering Haiti toward a more authoritarian future.

YEMEN A top Houthi commander was killed in southwest Yemen on Sunday (14th March 2021) during clashes with pro-government forces, according to a report from Arabi21.

Abu Asad, literally meaning 'father of the lion', was killed along with scores of Yemen's Iran-backed rebels in the eastern front of the embattled city of Taiz, according to a spokesman for forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government. Army spokesman Colonel Abdul Basit Al-Bahr described Abu Asad as one of the highest-ranking and feared Houthi commanders in the region. His death comes as Yemen's Saudi-backed government forces are locked in heavy fighting with Houthis around Taez. Pro-government fighters have wrested control of the city's Jabal Habashi district from the rebels.

Yemeni media have reported, however the number of civilian casualties continues to rise. Seven children were wounded in an alleged Houthi shelling hit a residential area in the city, according to the charity Save the Children, who warned of an "unacceptable increase in civilian casualties".

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 March

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