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Worldview Security Update – November 25, 2019


Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Over the weekend of 22-24 November 2019, anti-government demonstrations — some of which turned violent — continued throughout Colombia. On 24 November hundreds of people marched through the capital Bogotá to show support for a demonstrator who suffered severe injureies during anti-government protests the previous day. In contrast to demonstrations held on the prior two days, the march remained relatively peaceful, with no reports of major disruptions or clashes.

On 23 November riot police officers deployed tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters gathered at Bogotá’s Parque Nacional for a third consecutive day of nationwide demonstrations. The Colombian armed forces issued a statement announcing the deployment of 7,000 soldiers to Bogotá to maintain stability. Protesters gathered throughout Colombia following the expiration of nationwide curfews earlier in the day; authorities did not impose additional curfews. President Ivan Duque has opened a "National Dialogue" that he claims will result in long-term policies, without providing many details. The dialogue is expected to last through 15 March 2020.

Meanwhile, on 22 November riot police officers deployed tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters gathering in Bogota’s Plaza Bolívar and near Parque Nacional, while the mayor imposed a citywide curfew from 2100-0600 local time (0200-1100 UTC). Authorities also announced additional curfews for the towns of Bosa, Kennedy and Ciudad Bolivar from 2000-0500 local time. In Bogotá, approximately 4,000 national police officers were deployed to enforce the curfew. On 21 November officials had imposed curfews in several cities and towns, including Cali, Facatativá, the municipality of Cundinamarca, Funza and Popayán. In addition to the curfew, Bogotá’s mayor also announced a dry law — a prohibition on the sale and purchase of alcoholic beverages — from 1200 local time (1700 UTC) on 22 November through 1200 local time on 23 November to reduce the risk of violence. Thus far, six people have been killed and more than 270 others have been injured in the protest-related violence. Police officers have arrested approximately 150 people.


Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1850 local time (1420 UTC) on 24 November 2019, the detonation of an explosive device targeted a U.N. vehicle near the Makrorayan area in Kabul’s Police District 9. Authorities believe that a magnetic bomb attached to the roof of the armored vehicle caused the blast. A U.S. national was killed and at least five other people were wounded in the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion; however, Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants frequently target foreign entities in Kabul.

Following the attack, U.N. agencies operating in Afghanistan instituted lockdowns starting on 25 November, whereas other humanitarian groups restricted the movement of their personnel as a precautionary measure.


Finland (Security threat level – 2): Finland’s national air carrier Finnair canceled more than 250 flights scheduled for 25 November 2019 after the Finnish Aviation Union announced that its members would join an ongoing strike by employees of the mail carrier Posti. At least 20,000 travelers are expected to be affected by the cancellations; however, the disruptions will likely have an even greater impact as the strike is expected to affect all ground services for airlines operating to and from Finnish airports. In addition, the Finnish Seafarer’s Union and Helsinki’s public bus operators are observing an ongoing strike in solidarity with Posti beginning on 24 November. Public transportation in Helsinki and port operations across the country are expected to be significantly disrupted throughout the day. Labor leaders have stated that the strikes are expected to last until Posti employees reach an agreement over pay grievances with the government; negotiations halted over the weekend, and it is not known when they will resume.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 25 November 2019, Italian air traffic controllers employed by state-owned ENAV are currently observing a labor strike from 1300-1700 local time (1200- 1600 UTC) at three of Italy’s four air traffic control centers as well as six airports across the country. The facilities are as follows:

  • Brindisi Area Control Center
  • Padua Area Control Center
  • Rome Area Control Center
  • Pescara Abruzzo Airport (LIBP/PSR)
  • Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport (LIBD/BRI)
  • Marche Airport (LIPY/AOI)
  • Milan Linate Airport (LIML/LIN)
  • Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi – Umbria International Airport (LIRZ/PEG)
  • Rome—Ciampino International Airport (LIRA/CIA)

Alitalia grounded at least 137 flights prior to the four hour strike and rescheduled a number of additional flights. Transportation officials have coordinated with airlines to reduce the severity of the expected disruptions, but advised travelers to prepare for potential flight cancellations and delays. Disruptions are also expected to continue after the conclusion of the walkout, as air traffic controllers will have to deal with flight queues and backlogs.


Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): Overnight on 24-25 November 2019, supporters of the Shiite groups Hizballah and Amal clashed with anti-government demonstrators in the capital Beirut. Tensions between the groups of demonstrators first escalated when the crowd blocked Ring Bridge in the downtown area, prompting security forces to fire tear gas to disperse protesters. At least five people suffered injuries during the clashes, but there were no reports of fatalities.

Meanwhile, on 24 November dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut to protest against alleged U.S. interference in Lebanese affairs. Groups of protesters allegedly attempted to breach the perimeter fence to access the premises, but were unsuccessful. The demonstration concluded without significant violence.


Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 24 November 2019, a Busy Bee Congo aircraft carrying 17 passengers and two crew members crashed into a residential neighborhood shortly after takeoff from Goma International Airport (FZNA/GOM) in North Kivu province. The Dornier 228-200 aircraft struck a number of homes in Goma’s densely populated Mapendo neighborhood, killing at least 29 people — including all 19 people aboard the aircraft and 10 others on the ground — and injuring an unknown number of people. There were additional reports of looting and theft at the crash site following the accident; police officers arrested at least one person and fired warning shots to disperse individuals gathered at the site. The aircraft was en route to Beni — also located in North Kivu province — at the time of the crash, the cause of which is unknown at this time.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 25 November 2019, violent protests continued for a fourth consecutive day in the city of Beni, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s North Kivu province. Security forces deployed tear gas and fired live ammunition to disperse a group of protesters gathered in the Boikene area, located approximately 10 km (6 mi) northeast of central Beni. The protesters had reportedly set fire to at least one municipal building and and vandalize several buildings at the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) headquarters in Boikene. At least four people, including two Congolese police officers, have been killed in clashes since 23 November. Local residents have engaged in several days of demonstrations to protest against insecurity in the region and recent attacks in the community perpetrated by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an insurgent group based in the eastern DRC and neighboring Uganda. The most recent attack occurred overnight on 24-25 November, during which at least eight civilians were killed