1. A centuries old territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela has been brought before the ICJ this week.
The International Court of Justice held its first virtual hearing on Tuesday, addressing an ongoing territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela. The area in question, the Esequiba region, was declared to be part of British Guyana in 1899 in an international arbitration between Britain and Venezuela. In the 1960s Venezuela argued that this ruling was invalid, due to collusion between the Russian President overseeing the 1899 tribunal and Great Britain, reinstating its claim to the territory. Little came of this until 2015, when Exxon Mobil discovered 700 Million barrels of oil in offshore Esequiba in an exploration sanctioned by Guyana. Rising tensions have seen the Venezuelan navy seizing one oil ship in 2013 and approaching another in 2018. Guyana took the dispute to the ICJ in 2018 and it has since stalled. In this week’s hearing, a letter was read from the disputed Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, who said that the Venezuela would not be cooperating with the court as they do not accept its jurisdiction. This will likely delay the process further.
2. Uganda temporarily opened its borders to allow refugees to escape violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda temporarily relaxed its border controls at two points on Wednesday for three days, to allow refugees to escape ongoing violence in the DRC. This comes after at least 3000 people have fled the DRC since May but have been stuck in a ‘no-mans-land’ between the two countries due to Uganda’s need to control the spread of Coronavirus. Those now coming into the country will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
CSG Comment: For decades Uganda has provided safe haven for refugees fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries. It is no surprise that once again Uganda has opened its border on humanitarian grounds. Uganda's approach to integrating refugees into the country and providing sanctuary should be lauded.
3. Insurgents in the Cabo-Delgado province of Mozambique have staged a “very violent attack”.
Early on Saturday morning the strategically important Mozambiquan town of Mocimboa da Praia, which is 60km south of the region’s important energy infrastructure, was violently attacked by jihadist insurgents, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. Mozambique’s army reported several casualties from the attack and claimed to be met with “huge firepower”. The nearby gas developments are said to be worth $60 billion. As these projects have expanded over the last year so has the scale of the insurgency.
4. Ten people have been killed as gunmen attack the Pakistani stock exchange.
Four gunmen attacked the Pakistani stock exchange in Karachi on Monday. In the ensuing firefight, four security guards, one policeman and a civilian were killed as well as all four of the gunmen. Police have since recovered multiple automatic firearms and explosive materials from the suspected terrorists.
The secessionist and anti-Chinese Balochistan Liberation Group has claimed responsibility for the attack, citing the stock exchange’s links to the Chinese government and companies as their motivation alongside their ongoing desire to see Balochistan, one of the countries provinces, become an independent state. The group has previously carried out attacks on non-Baloch minorities in the region.
5. Australia to spend at least A$1 Billion on increased cyber-defence
In light of a string of “highly sophisticated” state-sponsored cyber-attacks on Australia, the government pledged on Tuesday to expand its cyber-defence capabilities to the tune of 1.35 billion Australian dollars. Australian PM, Scott Morrison, plans to recruit at least 500 cybersecurity experts and increase the countries offensive, as well as defensive, cyber capabilities. This is part of a wider A$270 billion dollar increase in defence spending.