Intellifusion Newsletter


Friday 17th December 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

Pattani, Thailand

On 13th December, an explosive device was detonated along the train tracks in Pattani. The explosion targeted the No. 452 train from Sungai Kolok to Nakhon Si Thammarat, while it was between Pattani and Ta Paet stations, and had approximately 300 passengers onboard. The explosion injured two of the train employees and a civilian, as well as causing damage to multiple train cars. The train did not stop until reaching Ta Paet station in the district of Songkhla. The attack led the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to order increased security on the southern railroad track.

The explosion is the third IED attack recorded in southern Thailand at the time of publication, with the other two targeting Rangers. Only one person was reported injured in the two attacks prior to the attack on the train. Attacks with explosives have kept up frequency since November, where three other IEDs and a motorcycle bomb were detonated causing multiple casualties.

NORTH AMERICA

Haiti

Protests broke out across the country over rising fuel prices, with areas affected including the capital of Port-au-Prince, Petit-Goave, Petion-Ville, Mirebalais, and Saint-Marc. Demonstrators blocked roads and caused significant travel disruption, with a blockade constructed from burning tyres created in Petion-ville, while some became violent and began to throw rocks.

The mass protest action marks the most recent bout of instability in the country, which has suffered from a severe fuel shortage, a significant rise in kidnappings, and the assassination of its president. Countries including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom currently advise travellers not to travel to Haiti due to “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and COVID-19”, with some national embassies no longer being operated.

EUROPE

The Balkans

Over the last 14 days there have been multiple incidents of currency smuggling noticed in the Balkans countries. In most cases, customs authorities will discover individuals attempting to cross borders by vehicle with over EUR10,000 in their possession. Most of these cases appear to be occurring at border crossings across Serbia, Albania, Romania and Kosovo and all appear to be heading to the Bulgaria-Turkey border (usually at the Kapitan Andreevo Checkpoint). These incidents appear to be people trying to take advantage of the current inflation crisis in Turkey; where multiple interest rate cuts have seen the Turkish Lira drop to EUR0.05 (as at 15:19hrs GMT 16th December 2021). Reports have also shown multiple attempts from Malta, with smugglers aiming to reach Turkey via multiple countries beforehand.

Currently, it appears that the punishments for trying to smuggle over EUR10,000 is a fine and the excess currency being seized. With the current inflation crisis in Turkey, such activity is likely going to increase which could lead to increased security measures at border checkpoints; particularly at the border crossings approaching Bulgaria and Turkey.

AFRICA

Jowhar, Somalia

On 11th December, a heavy explosion, later confirmed as a car bomb, was detonated outside a restaurant near a police station in the Kulmis area of Jowhar. The explosion killed one person and injured three others. Two of those wounded were Mohamed Omar and Yusuf Abdiqadir Karani, two lawmakers for the Hirshabelle State of Somalia. The wounded were taken to the hospital for treatment. The explosion was believed to have been caused by Al-Shabaab.

The attack happened on the same day as two IEDs placed by Al-Shabaab were detonated near Mahaday, just north of Jowhar, where four African Union peacekeepers of the Burundian Army were killed. December has seen several attacks committed by Al-Shabaab across Somalia, as well as in northeast Kenya.

SOUTH AMERICA

Cúcuta, Colombia

On Tuesday morning two explosions were reported at Camilo Daza International Airport in Cúcuta, Colombia. The first bomb went off near a fence that surrounds the airport’s runways and reportedly killed one of the attackers. Two police officers who were responding to the first explosion were killed by a second bomb when they were inspecting an abandoned suitcase. Some nearby homes were damaged by the blasts. The airport was evacuated and all flights were suspended.

The attack marked the 5th terror-related incident in the city of Cúcuta this year. Both the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have a strong presence in the region and often launch attacks from nearby Venezuela. Currently, it remains unclear which group is responsible.