Intellifusion Newsletter: 5 incidents to catch up on


Friday 26th November 2021

Hi Dhananjaya,

Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days;

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Myanmar

Local anti-government militias have warned travellers to avoid the Mandalay-Monya highway this week due to heavy fighting in the area. Shortly before the warning was issued, the PAFD (People’s Army to Fight Dictatorship) claimed responsibility for an ambush which targeted the convoy of the chief minister of the Sagaing region on 22nd November in the Sagaing Township, along the Mandalay-Monya highway. Militia forces claimed that ten mines were used in the attack, and that the ambush had been planned for five days due to heavy security along the route. Elsewhere on the main road on 24th November, a security forces convoy was targeted with two mines in the Myinmu township. Clashes between local militias and government forces are expected to increase in the area following the warning issued by local anti-government forces.

NORTH AMERICA

British Columbia, Canada

Several protests were reported in major urban centres across Canada over the week to denounce the arrests of Wet’suwet’en protesters at the Coastal GasLink pipeline site, belonging to TC Energy Corp., in British Columbia on 18th November. The police broke up the blockade and arrested dozens of indigenous protesters, as well as two journalists, to enforce an injunction from 2019 that blocks protests near the pipeline.

One of the protests during the week reportedly included 40 individuals blocking the gates of the Shell terminal in Hamilton, Ontario. The facility was targeted for the company’s involvement in the LNG Canada project, as well as the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Additional protests, such as in Edmonton and Toronto, gathered hundreds of people, while other protests led to roads blocked.

The actions of the police, which have been heavily criticised, and the number of arrests that have taken place, showcase the heightened tensions around the pipeline project and the plight of the Wet’suwet’en to stop it. Protests in regard to the pipeline are almost certain in the near future and until completion of the project. The continued injunction will likely mean more arrests and the scrutinization of the role and actions of the police towards protesters.

EUROPE

Austria

Last week’s announcement by the Austrian government of a 10 day national lockdown and mandatory vaccination policy to begin from 1st February 2022 saw protests occur across the country between 19th and 21st November. The largest being in Vienna which consisted of numerous groups gathering at multiple points across Vienna, meeting/marching through Heldenplatz and proceeding around major roads in the city.

During the protests in Vienna, small clashes appear to have occurred with indications that anti-lockdown protesters attempted to confiscate weapons from police. Additionally, during an anti-lockdown protest in Linz during this, there were two arson incidents which occurred during the protest; one featured a man attempting to set a gas canister alight outside the New Town Hall while another saw two youths arrested for setting fire to a police car. Available reporting indicates the two suspects were initially planning to ambush police officers and set them alight.

This kind of hostility towards police has been seen in France and Italy where protests against mandatory vaccination and lockdowns have featured an increasing willingness by protesters to attack police; this hostility has been exacerbated when other types of protests (climate change, BLM rallies, etc) have not been subject to the same types of police tactics.

Looking ahead, it is possible that anti-lockdown protests in Austria will become similar to ones which have been happening frequently in France and Italy; with protest marches quickly becoming riots when police intervene to enforce lockdown restrictions and possibly featuring attempts by individuals to attack police. 

AFRICA

Burkina Faso

Protests broke out in a number of towns and cities in Burkina Faso as anger took hold following an attack on the gendarmerie at Inata gold mine by Al Qaeda-linked militants. The attack left at least 53 gendarmes dead and led many Burkinabes to question President Roch Kabore’s ability to tackle the growing jihadist threat in the country. Many protesters have called for improved governance and others have also called for the resignation of President Kabore. Further protests have been planned to take place on 27th November. In response to the protests, the government shut down mobile internet on 20th November and extended the shut down for a further 96 hours from 24th November. The move was condemned by many protesters. Clashes are likely in cities including Ouagadougou where the mayor has asked security forces to ensure the protest does not take place.

Protesters, notably in Kaya, Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso and Fada N’Gourma, have also demanded the departure of France and other foreign forces from the country. A French army convoy was forced to turn back towards Ouagadougou after protesters in Kaya refused to allow it to pass. Anti-France sentiment at least in this instance has, in part at least, been fuelled by suspicions that the convoy in Kaya was delivering weapons to jihadists and demanding to inspect the convoy. Similar suspicions also saw trucks being checked by protesters in Ouagadougou where barricades were mounted at least two entrances to the city.

SOUTH AMERICA

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This weekend a military police officer was shot dead in São Gonçalo, a municipality located east of Rio de Janeiro. Multiple suspects armed with AK-47 assault rifles fled the scene. Although the attack was not claimed, it is most likely that members of the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) were responsible, as the gang controls drug trafficking in the neighbourhood where the incident took place.

On the following day, residents reported gunfire and drones flying overhead during a police operation in São Gonçalo. Although the police failed to report any casualties, the dead bodies of nine suspects were later found in the mangroves of the Palmeiras neighbourhood. Residents who reported the incident claim that some of the bodies showed signs of torture. At least four of the killed suspects did not have a criminal record.

A police commander of the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) has since justified the action by emphasizing that his officers used a proportionate level of force. According to him, the operation intended to “restore order to the area”. The police claim they seized drugs, firearms and tactical gear, and that one of the killed suspects was responsible for the death of their colleague. Autopsy reports have since denied the claims of torture.

Head over to our Intelligence Community and share any other incidents that caught your eye this week, or join in the discussion with our community members – made up of likeminded OSINT enthusiasts and security professionals.

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