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The weekly briefing, 31 March 2014

The weekly briefing, 31 March 2014

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Published by Open Briefing
Political and security risk update from Open Briefing (United Kingdom, 31 March 2014).
Political and security risk update from Open Briefing (United Kingdom, 31 March 2014).

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Published by: Open Briefing on Mar 31, 2014
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Open Briefing |
1
 
The weekly briefing
| 31 March 2014
 Political and security risk updates
Africa:
Somali goernment and !frican "nion recapture to#n from al$Sha%aa% in rene#ed military offensie&
 Americas:
President Maduro aerts 'military coup( amid political crisis in )ene*uela&
 Asia and Pacific:
+orth ,orea launches t#o missiles into the Sea of -apan prior to high$leel talks&
Europe:
.he /est coordinates further sanctions on ussia and epresses concern oer the deployment of ussian troops on the "krainian %order&
 Middle East:
gyptian court sentences 2 mem%ers of the Muslim Brotherhood to death&
 Polar regions:
ussian President )ladimir Putin orders !rctic army deelopment&
 
!frica
Somali government and African nion recapture town from al!Shabaab in renewed military offensive
5n the latest adance against al$6aeda$affiliated al$Sha%aa%7 the Somali goernment and !frican "nion forces hae sei*ed the to#n of l Bur in the central Somali 8algaduud region7 a key outpost of the militant group& On 29 March7 the !frican "nion Mission in Somalia :!M5SOM; announced that7 follo#ing a three$day operation7 its forces regained control of the to#n 30 kilometres northeast of the capital7 Mogadishu& thiopian and Somali troops #ere am%ushed %y militant fighters as they entered the to#n7 and residents %egan to flee the area& 5n contrast to earlier offensies7 #here al$Sha%aa% #as su%se<uently a%le to reoccupy the to#n7 the militant group is no# considered to %e hae %een nota%ly #eakened %y the recent operation& =our years ago7 al$Sha%aa% controlled large areas in the centre and south of the country7 including the ma>ority of the capital7 Mogadishu? ho#eer7 since the %eginning of the rene#ed !M5SOM and goernment offensie in =e%ruary7 the group has %een drien from 10 ma>or to#ns& @o#eer they remain in control of a num%er of southern to#ns&
 
Open Briefing |
"
 Aespite the rene#ed effort to com%at the militants and the deployment of oer 227000 !frican "nion troops and police personnel in Somalia7 sporadic al$Sha%aa% attacks continue& Most recently7 the presidential palace in Mogadishu #as attacked in =e%ruary& Political tensions #ithin the country are adding another dimension to the fight against the group on 24 March7 the president of SomaliaCs northeastern Puntland State alleged that the separatist administration of Somaliland7 #hich unilaterally declared its independence in 11 :recognised internationally as an autonomous region;7 #as financing al$Sha%aa%& =ighters fleeing from the !M5SOM onslaught in southern and central Somalia are fre<uently passing through Somaliland and crossing into Puntland&
#ther developments
 
The continuing $oko %arem insurgency has killed more than a thousand people in &igeria
 
since 'anuary(
 affecting at least three million people in total7 according to the +igerian mergency Management !gency :+M!;& !t least a <uarter of a million ciilians hae %een displaced in the predominantly Muslim northeast of the country7 #ith the states of !dama#a7 Borno and Do%e %eing the #orst affected& +M!Cs assessment is one of the first official accounts of the deastating impact that the intensifying iolence has had on !fricaCs leading oil$eporting country&
)enya has ordered refugees living in urban areas to return to their camps in a security measure aimed at *uelling retaliatory attacks by armed groups
 
in response to )enya+s intervention in neighbouring Somalia,
 5n his State of the +ation !ddress on 2E March7 President "huru ,enyatta #arned that the -u%ilee goernment #ould not tolerate terrorist actiities and announced a range of countermeasures7 including increasing the police force and installing FF.) cameras across ma>or cities& .he resettlement of internally displaced ciilians is ongoing7 and ,enyans hae %een asked to report any refugees or illegal immigrants liing outside the oercro#ded camps of Aadaa% and ,akuma& +eigh%ourhoods and refugee camps #ith large Somali populations hae increasingly %een used as %ases to prepare retaliation attacks %y al$Sha%aa% sympathisers&
A former -vory .oast minister has been charged with committing crimes against humanity
 
during the clashes following the "/1/ elections,
 Fharles Ble 8oude7 #ho led the Doung Patriots militia7 is a close ally of former President Gaurent 8%ag%o7 #ho is also a#aiting trial at the 5nternational Friminal Fourt :5FF; at .he @ague& Ble 8oude7 #hose etradition last #eek caused protest among 8%ag%o supporters7 is accused of %eing an 'indirect perpetrator( of crimes7 including rape7 murder and persecution& 5n the post$election iolence %et#een Aecem%er 2010 and !pril 20117 an estimated 37000 people #ere killed #hen 8%ag%o refused to admit defeat against his rial !lassane Ouattara&
#n the radar
 
 
The E is urging African governments to attend the E!Africa summit
 commencing on 2 !pril7 follo#ing an alleged %oycott directie %y the !frican "nion&
 
-ncreased security e0pected in across &igerias capital( Abu2a(
 follo#ing recent gunfire&
 
Activist group $arakat3 4Enough35 is planning to protest outside the provincial government head*uarters in $62a7a( Algeria(
on 2 !pril&
 
 
The & Security .ouncil is calling for continued international support for Sierra 8eone
 
following the closure of the & mission
 as the country enters a more deelopment$focused stage&
 
Open Briefing |
9
 
!mericas
President Maduro averts military coup amid political crisis in ;ene<uela
On 2 March7 )ene*uelan President +icolHs Maduro announced the detention of three air force generals inoled in an alleged anti$goernment conspiracy& 5t #as said that the generals had fostered links #ith the opposition and had %een denounced %y fello# officers of the +ational !rmed =orces of the Boliarian epu%lic of )ene*uela :=!+B;& .he affair #as reealed at a meeting #ith the "nion of South !merican +ations :"+!S"; commission7 a regional delegation set up to %roker a peaceful solution to the current crisis& Since the %eginning of =e%ruary7 iolent clashes %et#een radical opposition groups and pro$goernment militia hae erupted throughout the country& Both sides claim to represent the #ill of the people in a crisis that has turned into psychological #arfare& On one hand7 the opposition accuses the goernment of operating a terror campaign? on the other7 the goernment denounces the opposition for nurturing an insurrection& 5n that sense7 Maduro(s recent pu%lic statement is part of a %roader communication campaign to strengthen his legitimacy at home and also in the eyes of foreign o%serers& Since the esta%lishment of the Boliarian eolution under the no# deceased former president7 Gieutenant Folonel @ugo FhHe*7 a neus of the ciilian and the military sectors has goerned the country& en no#7 most of the ca%inet mem%ers of the Maduro administration are military reserists7 and the president of the national assem%ly and figurehead of the Boliarian moement7 Aiosdado Fa%ello7 a former soldier7 #as designated commander of the =!+B last Aecem%er& @istorically7 the )ene*uelan military has played a prominent role in times of crisis %y either supporting or undermining goernment rule& .he memory of the 11 !pril 2002 coup attempt7 #hich #as supported %y a fringe of the military and imprisoned FhHe* for 4I hours7 is still ery much present7 and Maduro has %een #orking hard to retain the allegiance of the =!+B during the current political crisis& egardless of the truth or not of the alleged plot inoling three air force officers7 recent eents hae demonstrated the am%iguous nature of )ene*uela(s military& /ary of this compleity7 Maduro has attempted to consolidate the ciilian$military %ond %y appointing nota%le mem%ers of his "nited Socialist Party of )ene*uela :PS"); to prominent roles #ithin the =!+B& Moreoer7 most of the military officers that took part in the 2002 anti$Fhae* coup #ere remoed in su%se<uent purges& @ence7 it is unlikely that a similar coup mounted %y the opposition #ill take place in the current contet& ! more plausi%le scenario #ould %e a 'soft coup( in #hich the military #ould refuse to follo# goernment orders to repress actiists& +onetheless7 the army has until no# proed its allegiance to the Boliarian eolution in general and to Maduro(s administration in particular&
#ther developments $olivia has announced the creation of an anti!drug division in response to the rise of drug trafficking in the Santa .ru< department,
Gast #eek7 the minister of the presidency7 Farlos omero7 confirmed the creation of a military anti$drug diision in the city of DapacanJ& .he pro>ect is an initiatie of President o Morales7 and is funded %y the uropean "nion7 in order to fight drug trafficking in the region& But local leaders hae protested against the initiatie7 as they fear an escalation of iolence& 5n the past t#o years7 national authorities hae sei*ed 1 tons of cocaine and destroyed 97000 drug la%oratories in the area&

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