Intelligence Fusion – 5 incidents. Newsletter


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Friday 29th April 2022

Hi Dhananjay,

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

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EUROPE

Transnistria, Moldova

This week, several explosions were reported in various parts of Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, which currently has approximately 1,500 Russian troops present. The explosion targeted the state security headquarters in Tiraspol, as well as two Soviet-era radio masts broadcasting Russian news in Mayak. There are also reports that a military unit was targeted near Parcani. While no casualties were reported, authorities in the region issued a red alert for terrorism, which has increased security measures across Transnistria.

The motives for the explosions are unclear, but authorities in Transnistria claim that Ukrainian infiltrators were involved in at least the attack on the state security headquarters. President Zelensky of Ukraine has denied the claims and has accused Russia of being behind the explosions to destabilise Moldova, a pro-European Union country. The Russian government has said it was concerned with the situation and was tracking developments, with rhetoric from Russia previously stating that the rights of ethnic Russians in Transnistria were being violated. Similar rhetoric had been used prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to control the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Recent events this week have caused concern from countries in Western Europe. A Russian move to reinforce Russian troops in Transnistria and head east towards the Ukrainian port of Odesa would be a possibility and would allow Russia to attempt to connect gains made along the Black Sea coast of Ukraine during the war in Ukraine over the last two months.

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NORTH AMERICA

Panamá Oeste, Panama

On the 25th April, transport workers embarked on a strike predominantly in Panamá Oeste, but also in other territories including Chiriquí, Darién and Colón. The reason behind the protest is the elevated oil prices affecting their industry. Strikers demand fairer regulation on oil and gas, the elimination of further taxation on such assets, the revision of passenger fares and direct negotiation with the president or a high official from the circle.

Strikers have also staged demonstrations, marches and road blockades along the Inter American highway. Internal routes in La Chorrera are benefiting from half of the services from the buses while taxis also remain operative. On the second strike day, a group of transport workers marched from Arraiján until Loma Cobá road utilising a third alternative road to lessen travel disruption. Such activities have also resulted in confrontations between the workers and the authorities.
The strike will reportedly be lifted by noon on the 28th April in the hopes of negotiations. Strikers will return to their activities if their demands are met with no cooperation from state institutions.

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MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Karachi, Pakistan

A suicide bomber detonated their explosives outside of the Confucius Institute Learning Centre at Karachi University, killing four people. The bomber can be seen on CCTV detonating their explosives as a minibus carrying Chinese nationals entered the compound. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the attack, posting images of the female bomber on social media channels.

In a claim released shortly after the attack, the BLA warned against Chinese presence in Balochistan, stating that ‘direct or indirect presence in Balochistan will not be tolerated.’ The BLA has frequently targeted Chinese assets and projects in Balochistan and Karachi, as the group has accused the Chinese and Pakistani governments of exploiting Balochistan’s resources. In the past Baloch militant groups have been responsible for abductions and murders of Chinese nationals working on infrastructure and mining projects in Balochistan in addition to near-daily attacks targeting security forces.

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AFRICA

Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo

Two people have been confirmed dead after authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in the Equateur Province. Mbandaka is at the centre of the outbreak. Health workers have so far identified at least 145 contacts. The disease was confirmed more than two weeks after the first patient exhibited symptoms.

Health workers have launched a vaccination campaign which in the past has been met with some resistance with local residents opting to seek help from local healers instead. Response teams in the past have also been affected by communication and mobility issues. Fuel shortages in the country could and past grievances by Ebola response workers over unpaid salaries could also impact the response. Mbandaka is a major trade hub and a large urban setting with routes to Kinshasa. The Congo River is widely used for transportation and there is a risk the disease could quickly spread to neighbouring countries.

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SOUTH AMERICA

Rosario, Argentina

On Wednesday, security forces conducted raids across Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city. The operation resulted in the arrest of 20 suspects, including Máximo Cantero, also known as El Viejo, who is the founder of one of Argentina’s most notorious gangs: Los Monos (The Monkeys).
Los Monos is a drug gang led by the Cantero family, who have helped to turn Rosario into Argentina’s crime capital. The city has a homicide rate that is five times higher than the country’s average. Since the start of 2022, 90 murders have taken place in the city and this month police have already reported 28 criminal incidents. The majority of these incidents are believed to be related to drug gangs.

Despite a large portion of Los Monos’ leadership being behind bars, the gang continues to control most of the micro-trafficking in Rosario. Previous investigations have revealed how the gang bribed a large portion of the police force, including Santa Fe’s former chief of police. This allowed Los Monos dealers (often children) to freely sell drugs from so-called “bunkers” across the city. The gang also maintained close ties with politicians and businessmen, allowing them to launder money via car dealerships, construction companies and football clubs.

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ISWAP claims multiple explosions in Taraba State, Nigeria

Following two incidents of bombing on the 19th and 22nd April that were consequently claimed by Islamic State, a member of our open-source intelligence community, ‘SAINT Sentinel’ shared additional information in the days to follow as well as their own insight into the attacks. Their contribution helped to build out the wider picture of what happened.