Critical global developments with particular regard to terrorist threats, political strife, strikes, criminal activity, aviation incidents and health outbreaks

AMERICAS

  • United States

ASIA

  • Pakistan
  • South Korea
  • Tajikistan

EUROPE

  • Germany
  • Italy

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Saudi Arabia

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic Of The Congo

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

  • Central African Republic
  • South Africa
  • Turkey

Security Threat Level Explanation

Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.

Hot Spots Report

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level - 2): On 28 October 2016, at approximately 1430 local time (1930 UTC) an aircraft fire took place at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport (KORD/ORD). American Airlines Flight 383 (a Boeing 767) bound for Miami caught fire as it was preparing for departure. The pilots aborted takeoff and allowed the 161 passengers and nine crewmembers to evacuate via the aircraft’s inflatable chutes. Twenty people suffered minor injuries during the evacuation. Fire crews brought the fire under control within a few minutes. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) characterized the incident as an "uncontained engine failure." Officials at O'Hare International Airport issued a temporary ground stop due to the incident. Officials had lifted the ground stop as of 2215 local time, but three runways remained closed; it is not clear when those runways reopened.

ASIA

Pakistan (Security threat level - 5): On 31 October 2016, police officers clashed with supporters of the opposition Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) opposition party, who were marching to the capital city of Islamabad. The confrontation occurred in Swabi, located an approximately one-and-a-half hour drive from Islamabad. The protesters attempted to remove roadblocks that were impeding their progress, and police officers reacted by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. An undisclosed number of people suffered injuries.

The PTI supporters were traveling to Islamabad to join the party’s planned 2 November “lockdown” of the capital. Tensions are high in anticipation of the demonstration, which the PTI is organizing to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The government has banned rallies in the capital, while the PTI has vowed to go ahead with its plan, setting the stage for further confrontations in the coming days.

 
South Korea (Security threat level - 2): Thousands of people gathered in central Seoul on 29 October 2016 in a demonstration calling for the resignation of President Park Geun-hye after allegations emerged that an acquaintance of Park used her close relationship with the president to gain monetary benefits. The protest attracted 12,000 people according to police sources; organizers stated that as many as 30,000 people attended. Riot police officers blocked a group of protesters who attempted to march on the Blue House, the presidential residence. While the demonstration remained peaceful, additional political developments associated with the scandal will likely spur further demonstrations in the coming days and weeks. Travelers in central Seoul should prepare for transportation disruptions in the city.
 
Tajikistan (Security threat level - 4): Late on 28 October 2016, a nationwide power outage hit Tajikistan following a malfunction at the country’s largest power plant. The outage began at approximately 1900 local time (1400 UTC) and lasted nearly three hours. The blackout caused the streets of Dushanbe -- Tajikistan's capital -- to go dark, and the city's water supply was shut off as well. However, reports stated that mobile communications continued to operate normally. The blackout occurred after the Nurek hydroelectric power plant, which provides Tajikistan with up to 75 percent of its electricity supply, experienced an outage. Tajikistan is relies heavily on hydroelectricity. 

EUROPE

Germany (Security threat level - 2): A stabbing attack occurred on the evening of 29 October 2016 in Frankfurt. The incident took place at the Hauptwache train station. At least four people were injured and received treatment at a nearby hospital. It is unclear what the motive for the attack was, although some reports indicated the perpetrator may have been mentally unstable. The incident does not appear to have significantly affected operations at the station. The assailant is still at large.
 
Italy (Security threat level - 3): On 30 October 2016, at approximately 0740 local time (0640 UTC), a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck central Italy. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake registered at a depth of 5 mi/10 km and the epicenter was located approximately 3 mi/6 km from the town of Norcia (about 70 mi/115 km north-northeast of Rome). Reports indicate that strong tremors were felt in Rome and Naples, and even in neighboring Austria and Slovenia. Some historic buildings, including the Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia, sustained damage. There were no reports of fatalities, but at least 20 people were injured. As many as 15,000 people are in temporary shelters while authorities continue to assess the damage. There were no reports of damage in Rome, but authorities briefly suspended operations on the city’s subway system for inspections. Airport operations in Rome remained unaffected.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level - 4): On 31 October 2016, the Lebanese parliament formally elected Michel Aoun as president, ending a two-year vacancy in the post. Parliament elected Aoun with 83 votes out of 128. Former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri broke the deadlock after he announced his bloc’s support for Aoun. The Lebanese parliament will now turn to electing a prime minister, which according to the constitution must be a Sunni Muslim. In view of the politically sensitive vote, Lebanese security forces increased security in and around Beirut, restricting vehicle traffic in the downtown area.
Morocco (Security threat level - 3): On 30 October 2016, thousands of people took to the streets of cities across Morocco, to continue protests that began in the northern city of al-Hoceima on 28 October. The demonstrations were sparked by the death of a fisherman, who was crushed by a waste vehicle while attempting to retrieve his merchandise after authorities threw it away. Some sources indicate that the incident occurred after the fisherman refused to pay a bribe to the authorities. Outraged residents across Morocco reacted to news of the incident over social media, prompting demonstrations in various cities including Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech.

Analyst Comment: Widespread protests are uncommon in Morocco, and local activists stated that the protests resembled those that occurred during Morocco’s short-lived Arab Spring in 2011. In an effort to quell further dissent, the interior and justice ministries responded to the protesters by stating that authorities will conduct an investigation into the fisherman’s death.

 
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level - 3): The Saudi Interior Ministry stated on 30 October 2016 that it foiled two separate terrorist plots after authorities arrested eight people. Four of those detained stated that they received instructions from an Islamic State (IS) leader to kill security forces in the Shaqra district, located north of Riyadh. The second foiled plot allegedly involved a car bombing at a World Cup qualifying game at a Jeddah stadium on 11 October. The affiliation and motivation of those involved in the second plot were not disclosed. The Interior Ministry released a second statement naming nine suspects who are wanted for involvement in attacks on security officers and civilians in the Shiite-majority areas of Qatif and Dammam.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level - 4): Ivorian nationals voted in a constitutional referendum on 30 October 2016. Security incidents occurred at approximately 100 out of 20,000 polling stations nationwide, including in Abidjan. During the incidents, individuals threw stones at the stations, stormed the facilities and damaged equipment. No injuries were reported. A senior official of the ruling RHDP coalition claimed that the voting stations where violence occurred were located in neighborhoods dominated by the opposition Front Populaire Ivorian (FPI), which called for a boycott of the referendum.

Previously, on 28 October, security forces used tear gas to disperse anti-referendum protesters in Abidjan’s central business district. Protesters were marching close to the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in the Plateau, which is Abidjan’s central business district, when police officers employed tear gas. According to a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, security forces used tear gas because protesters deviated from the planned demonstration route and were headed toward the Place de la République, which the spokesperson claimed would have disrupted economic activities. The protest and police intervention resulted in traffic disruptions.

Analyst Comment: The scuffles reported on voting day highlight the contentious nature of the referendum. Protests are possible following the announcement of the election results. It is not known when the electoral commission will publish the results. Protests in Côte d'Ivoire have the potential to turn violent, as the developments on 28 October illustrate. Consequently, travelers in Côte d'Ivoire should avoid all protests and demonstrations.

 
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level - 5): On 29 October 2016, police officers clashed in Lubumbashi with hundreds of activists who were attending a rally organized by the opposition Rassemblement coalition. Security officers used tear gas to disperse the opposition activists, who were leaving a political meeting that took place in the residence of opposition leader Kyungu wa Kumwanza. Eyewitnesses claimed that pro-government militia were deployed to the venue of the rally and attacked opposition activists prior to the intervention from the security forces. According to the political opposition, 29 people were arrested. Conversely, a local police chief stated that activists stoned police vehicles and that seven people are under arrest.

In Kinshasa, at least 30 activists staged a sit-in protest in front of the African Union headquarters on 29 October. Demonstrators chanted slogans, waved two banners and blew whistles. Police officers confiscated the banners and arrested 10 demonstrators affiliated with Filimbi, the citizens’ movement that organized the protest. A police spokesperson stated that six members of Filimbi were charged with disturbing public order and inciting revolt and that the other four have been released.


GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Central African Republic (Security threat level - 5): On 28 October 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui issued a Security Message that reads in part as follows: “The U. S. Embassy in Bangui is aware of potential threats to the security of those in close proximity to areas/property associated with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the continued threats impacting the country due to an unpredictable security situation, and refers U.S. citizens to the most recent Travel Warning for the Central African Republic (CAR), dated October 19, 2016.

“U.S. citizens who have decided to remain in CAR despite the Travel Warning should regularly review their personal security situation. Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time. U.S. citizens in need of assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon.”

 
South Africa (Security threat level - 3): On 31 October 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria issued a Security Message, which reads in part as follows: "The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa informs U.S. citizens that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have planned a demonstration for Wednesday, November 2 at 8:00 A.M. at the Church Square, in the Pretoria central business district. The march route is unknown at this time. The purpose of the demonstration is to protest alleged government corruption and demand free tertiary education. The City of Tshwane has issued a permit for 200 participants, but many more are expected.

"Disruptions to motor vehicle traffic are expected in the vicinity of the demonstration, and many local businesses may close for the duration of the event. The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria is advising U.S. government personnel and their family members to avoid the area of the demonstrations.

"U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations; maintain situational awareness and exercise good judgment; stay alert; be aware of your surroundings at all times, and stay abreast of ongoing events through local media outlets and social media."

 
Turkey (Security threat level - 4): On 29 October 2016, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Warning to include the following: "The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country. The U.S. Department of State is updating this Travel Warning to reflect the October 29, 2016, decision to order the departure of family members of employees posted to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey. The Department of State made this decision based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent. The Consulate General remains open and fully staffed."This order applies only to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, not to other U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey. The Department continues to monitor the effect of these developments on the overall security situation in the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 24, 2016."

SIGNIFICANT DATES

31 October

Burkina Faso: National Holiday. Commemoration of 2014 uprising.
Hinduism: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Light)
Slovenia: Reformation Day
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

1 November

Algeria: Revolution Day (Most offices/businesses closed.)
Antigua & Barbuda / Lesser Antilles: Independence Day
Australia: Melbourne Cup Day (Public holiday only in Victoria state; sporadically observed elsewhere in Australia. Some businesses and government offices close.)
Bhutan: Coronation of Druk Gyalpo
Bulgaria: National Awakening Day
Christianity: All Saints' Day
Guyana: Defense Force Day
Hinduism: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Light)
Mexico: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Somalia: Parliamentary elections
U.S. Virgin Islands: D. Hamilton Jackson Day (Liberty Day)

2 November

Christianity: All Souls' Day
Hinduism: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Light)
Mauritius: Arrival of Indentured Laborers Day
Mexico: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Pakistan: Opposition rally in Islamabad. Transportation disruptions and increased security presence expected.
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

3 November

Ecuador: Foundation of Cuenca (Public holiday)
Hinduism: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Light)
Liberia: Thanksgiving Day
Maldives: Victory Day
Panama: Independence Day (Businesses, schools close)
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

4 November

Israel: Anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1995)
Panama: Flag Day (Government offices close)
Russia: Unity Day
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

5 November

Panama: Colon Day: National holiday; businesses and schools closed.
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

6 November

Dominican Republic: Constitution Day
Morocco: Green March Day
Somalia: Parliamentary elections
Tajikistan: Constitution Day

7 November

Belarus: October Revolution Day
Kyrgyzstan: Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

8 November

Somalia: Parliamentary elections

9 November

Azerbaijan: State Flag Day
Cambodia: Independence Day (Public holiday)
Pakistan: Iqbal Day
Somalia: Parliamentary elections

10 November

Bolivia: Potosi Local Festival
Egypt: Cairo Film Festival
Mozambique: Maputo Day
Nigeria: Anniversary of execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa
Panama: Uprising of Los Santos (First call for independence)
Somalia: Parliamentary elections