|ere’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 & ASIAMaldivesOn 6th May, the former president of the Maldives was wounded by an IED outside of his home in Malé. It is not clear whether the attack was politically motivated or a terror-related incident. Violent incidents in the Maldives are rare, however, Maldives nationals have been recruited into foreign groups raising fears regarding radicalised fighters returning to the Maldives. Maldives nationals have been known to have been recruited into Islamic State and other extremist groups in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Islamic State or other extremist group attacks are rare in the Maldives, with two terror-related incidents recorded in the last two years. In April 2020, Islamic State claimed responsibility for an arson attack in Mahibadhoo, causing no casualties. In October 2019, an Islamic State recruiter was arrested in the Maldives, allegedly with connections to Islamic State – Khorosan Province (Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate).|
|EUROPEUkrainePrior analysis on the situation in Ukraine has been confirmed on an almost regular basis during April. However, monitoring of the situation has begun to provide what could be the tipping point for the standoff in Donbass to return to previous levels of warfare.|
In prior analysis, it was noticed that UAV missions being conducted by the OSCE’s monitoring mission were being frequently subject to electronic warfare/jamming. Not only has this increased (there have been several occasions where UAVs were jammed following take-off) but has also seen multiple incidents of these UAVs being targeted with small arms fire. In addition, a recent monitoring patrol had their vehicle hit by small arms fire at least twice (no prior incidents like this have been noticed).
Furthermore, Russian equipment has continued to come into the region with recent sightings of UAZ Esaul armoured ‘technical’ vehicles; and ceasefire violations appear to be featuring 122mm and 152mm artillery rounds.
While the tensions are increasing, it is possible that the OSCE’s presence in the region is what is preventing a return to full scale war. Both sides appear to be targeting the OSCE’s patrols in order to force them to leave Donbass, and thus hinder the ability for external parties to monitor the situation. Should the OSCE’s UAV missions become completely ineffective – or the OSCE is forced out of Donbass – a return to full scale war similar to or worse than 2014 will likely occur.
Check out prior analysis of the Donbass situation in our April briefing
|AFRICADR CongoPresident Tshisekedi announced a “state of siege” in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces for 30 days starting from 6th May 2021. The decision was made after consultations with the Prime Minister and the Presidents of two chambers of Parliament. The decision comes after weeks of protests across the country – particularly in eastern DRC – against insecurity to demand the departure of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission. Attacks by the Islamic State-linked Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and other armed groups as well as inter-communal violence has left more than 300 dead since the start of 2021, leading many to accuse MONUSCO and authorities of failing to protect civilians. Protests broke out in the Majengo District of Goma against the state of siege on the morning of 6th May. With the military and police taking over positions held by civilians, some have expressed concern over the impact of civil liberties. Additionally, recent protests against insecurity resulted in the deaths of many civilians at the hands of the military and police. Without significant improvement in the coming weeks and months, relations between residents in eastern DR Congo and authorities could further weaken and anti-government sentiment will likely grow.|
|NORTH AMERICANew York City, USAA series of anti-Asian hate crimes were reported across the city over the weekend of 1st-2nd May, including victims being physically assaulted, with one woman attacked by a man armed with a hammer in Manhattan. Other incidents saw an Asian-American woman pushed towards the train tracks at a subway station in Brooklyn, and several cases of racist language being used. The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes has been linked to rhetoric regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, with studies claiming that there has been an 164% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Consequently, the U.S. Senate has passed the ‘COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act’ to try and tackle the rise in incidents.|
|SOUTH AMERICARio de Janeiro, BrazilPolice in Rio de Janeiro launched an operation in the early hours of 6th May in the Jacarezinho favela of the city. The operation was reportedly launched after reports that the gang controlling the community was recruiting children, among other crimes such as drug trafficking, robberies, kidnappings and murders. The operation led to an intense firefight in which at least 25 people were killed. One of those killed was a police officer. Additionally, two civilians on a metro train were wounded after being struck by gunfire. Local residents have said that the police used excessive force and executed individuals, something which the representative for the Civil Police denied afterwards. The Police Chief of the city has said that the casualty count was the largest for a police operation in the city. Police operations in the favelas of the city have been criticised before for excessive force against civilians. Before this operation, the number of deaths in shootouts had decreased since June 2020 after a court had ruled to restrict the ability for police to conduct operations in favelas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Favelas in Rio de Janeiro are often controlled by criminal factions or militias, and police operations within them often lead to shootouts.|
|📽️🎙️🎧 THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Podcast A fortnightly podcast that expands on key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.|
|Policing in a Pandemic – what is the current state of policing in Europe? The latest episode of The Insight explores the current state of policing across Europe, particularly since the lockdowns were imposed. We take a look at the worsening anti-lockdown protests, the threat of left and right wing extremists, and the increased opportunities for organised crime, before examining what impact this may have had on public perception of the police, and on police morale itself.|