1. UK sends Royal Navy Carrier Group on global tour to reinforce Global Britain outlook.
The Royal Navy has dispatched HMS Queen Elizabeth on a 28 week tour of the world’s seas and oceans as part of a fleet of ships referred to as the Carrier Strike Group. The deployment marks the first major deployment of the UK’s newest aircraft carrier capability and is intended as a demonstration of force, a representation of the British government’s ‘Global Britain’ agenda, and an opportunity to work alongside friends and allies on its path, including a scheduled lay over in fellow Commonwealth country, Singapore. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accompanied by two Royal Navy Frigates, two Destroyers, two supply ships and - beneath the surface - an Astute Class Submarine, and joined by ships from both the US and Netherlands.
The deployment is set against a context of increasing strategic competition in the world’s seas, particularly in the geopolitical centre ground of the Indo-Pacific.
2. Cameroon’s Unity Day celebrations are disrupted by violence in separatist regions.
During this week’s Unity Day celebrations in Cameroon, government forces clashed with separatist rebels in English speaking towns and villages. At least sixteen people have been killed and a further sixty injured. Efang, a central figure in the separatist movement with a strong social media presence, urged English speaking people not to celebrate on Unity Day, one of the main national holidays in Cameroon, as a sign of protest against the predominantly French speaking government in Yaoundé. Conflict in Cameroon is ongoing and has received little attention from the international community.
3. Uganda and Rwanda agree to cooperate with Democratic Republic of Congo in fight against Islamist Rebels.
A spokesperson for the Uganda People’s Defence Force confirmed on Monday that it had agreed to share intelligence and help coordinate the Democratic Republic of Congo’s assault on a group of Islamist rebels. Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso of the UPDF noted that, "Definitely, there will be coordination, sharing intelligence, sharing information and all sorts of security activities," between the two nations. This runs counter to reports last week which suggested that Uganda would take part directly in the fight against the rebels. Brigadier Byekwaso noted that Uganda did not, in fact, intend to deploy forces on the ground in Congo. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, following a meeting with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, also announced collaboration with Congo in fighting the rebels, but it is unclear as of yet what form this will take.
4. Seven Kenyan soldiers killed in bomb attack.
Seven Kenyan soldiers have been killed by a bomb attack in the Lamu county region, near the country’s chronically insecure border with Somalia. It is very likely that the attack was carried out by al-Shabaab rebels, who have carried out many similar attacks against Kenyan security forces on both sides of the border. The attack happened just days before President Uhuru Kenyatta was set to inaugurate a multi-million dollar port in Lamu county. It was the second attack in as many months which targeted vehicles bringing supplies to the border, which is currently being secured against extremists and bandits with a system of trenches. The security situation on the Somali-Kenyan border is likely to disrupt the development of Lamu’s new port and represents a significant risk in the region.
5. Electoral outcome in Samoa contested
Taking place last month, Samoa’s latest election has failed to provide a clear result and tensions in the country are rising. The election is fiercely contested by two political parties, the Human Rights Protection Party (HRRP) which has governed Samoa for nearly 40 years, and Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) which was founded in June 2020. A vote was originally held on the 9th of April, but produced an inconclusive result. As a result, the nation will vote again on the 21st of May. Accusations of electoral fraud are flying from both sides, sharpening already harsh political divides.