Weekly Round-Up


1. Nigerian Army prepares to launch major land operations against Boko Haram.

Nigerian Chief of the General Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has announced major land operations against Boko Haram insurgents in the country’s North East. The Nigerian Army will launch Operation Fireball focused on crushing insurgent activity in the Sambisa Forest, Mandara Mountains and Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram have terrorised the northern reaches of Nigeria, and across the border in Cameroon, Niger, Chad for over a decade. The human toll has been immense with an estimated 32,000 dead at the hands of the Islamist insurgent group, and their ISIS-aligned off-shoot, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP). The planned operation comes at a time of unabated violence and the emergence of new jihadist outfits across the North of the Nigeria. General Buratai has called preparations ahead of this latest Operation “necessary for the final destruction of the criminal insurgents.”


2. Ugandan Police launch manhunt looking for fraudsters after major Mobile Money hack.


Ugandan Police are on the chase to hunt down the culprits of a major hack on mobile money systems in the country. The attackers accessed the systems of a third party that processes phone-based transactions, with companies affected including MTN Group – the largest telecoms provider in Uganda, Airtel and Standard Bank Group. In a statement from MTN the attack mainly affected bank to mobile wallet transfers, with a reported $3.2 million stolen. MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda have since suspended money service transactions between the companies.


Mobile Money transfers are big business in Uganda with an estimated $20 billion worth of transactions channelled through the systems in 2019.


3. Tensions continue in Cyprus with the re-opening of former tourist resort.


Compounding the growing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Military has removed barbed wire surrounding the former thriving tourist resort of Varosha, provoking the Republic of Cyprus. The resort has been abandoned for near to half a century, having been seized when the Turkish Army invaded Cyprus in 1974, creating the internationally unrecognised state of Northern Cyprus, and an ethnically divided island. The seizure of the resort led to the exodus of many thousands of Cypriots of Greek heritage, none of whom have been able to return to their former homes as they lie crumbling and unused. The opening of the Varosha beach, a once world renowned holiday destination, for a handful of Turkish Cypriots has led to out-cries from the Republic of Cyprus, with the UN Security Council already asked to explore whether the act contravenes international law.


4. Singapore announces a drive to boost cyber security capabilities.


Singapore has announced plans to increase research and innovation efforts to strengthen its cyber security capabilities. Singapore has agreed a partnership between its Cyber Security Agency (CSA) an the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, renowned as a hub for cyber security research. Singapore's researchers will work with their counterparts in areas such as security for smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT).


5. World Food Programme awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2020.


The World Food Programme (WFP) has won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, acknowledging its relentless efforts to improve global food security and to improving conditions in war-torn areas. The WFP, a branch of the United Nations, faced competition from 318 other candidates - 211 individuals and 107 organisations.


The Chair of the Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, emphasised the credentials of the WFP in winning the award, saying: "The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation in making food security an instrument of peace."


The award highlights the importance of food security in supporting wider peace and stability. More on this can be found in the forthcoming Commonwealth Security Review 2020, with a contribution from GAIN, the Global Alliance for Improve Nutrition.

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