Weekly Round-Up


1. Jamaican Security force kill five gang members in gunfight.


The Jamaican Defence force has announced that five gunmen were killed in a firefight that occurred during an ongoing campaign to combat organised crime in Bedward Gardens, St. Andrew. A member of the Jamaica defence force was also shot and injured. Police reported that three submachine guns were among seven firearms recovered following the security operation. It is believed that the men belonged to the Berry Gang, which has been terrorising residents for some time, often opening fire on civilians and instigating violence with rival gangs.



2. UK Defence Review set to introduce major reforms to British Armed Forces.


A UK government defence review entitled “Global Britain in a Competitive Age” will see the British Armed Forces reduced in size and using far more drones, amongst a series of other defence reforms. It is suggested that the army will lose 12,500 personnel over the next eight years, reducing to 70,000 in total. Government sources said that “whole fleets of aircraft” would be decommissioned as drones “become even more common”. The underlying principle of this new defence strategy is to have a small, but high-tech and specialised army equipped to deal with the modern threat environment.



3. Bandits Abduct 100 miners and kill 10 in Nigeria's Zamfara State.


More than 100 miners have been kidnapped whilst working between Anka and Maru local government areas in Zamfara state, Nigeria. It has also emerged that at least ten miners were killed during an earlier attack on March the 2nd. There has been ongoing tension between miners and bandits in the state and the regions traditional rulers continue to call for more support from the central government in combatting banditry. The attacks are not believed to be the work of Boko Haram. State Governor Bello Matawalle noted that "The bandits have been attacking those involved in artisanal mining and carting away their money and property" and promised that his administration would intensify its peace and dialogue as well as support the security services in recovering those who have been abducted.



4. Terror threat level in Kenyan airspace increased.


The United States government has issued a warning to civilian airlines flying in Kenyan airspace warning of an increased chance of terrorist attacks. This is based on intelligence which suggests that extremist group Al Shabaab are in possession of weapons capable of hitting aircraft at low altitudes of up to 25,000 feet, putting civilian craft at risk during take off and landing. It is suggested that they may even have access to military grade surface to air missiles. The risk is especially high on a popular aviation route which runs through North-eastern Kenya and Somalia. Al Shabaab, whilst primarily active in Somalia, has recently turned its attention to Kenyan security forces both in Somalia and in North-eastern Kenya during a period of increased tension between the two nations. On January 5th, a joint civil-military airfield, Camp Simba, was attacked near Kenya’s border with Somalia.



5. India set to block Huawei amidst security concerns.


India is likely to block mobile carriers and internet service providers from using hardware made by Huawei, government officials have said, under new procurement rules set to come into force in June. This is due to concerns that the Chinese government could exert pressure on the telecoms giant to gain access to sensitive data as well as a desire to start producing more technology indigenously. Cybersecurity experts world over have raised concerns about potential Chinese backdoor access to national infrastructure should Huawei technology be widely integrated into telecoms architecture. Officials noted that India “cannot prioritise economic gains if an investment poses a national security risk”.