1. Gunmen kidnap 136 school children in Niger state, Nigeria.
136 schoolchildren were kidnapped from an Islamic school in Niger state, Nigeria, on Sunday the 30th of May. A spokesman from the Niger state police force noted that the attack was carried out by “armed bandits on board motorcycles in their numbers” and that they had killed one person during the attack. He continued on to say that tactical teams and air support had been dispatched in order to bring the children home safely. This is the latest in a spate of school-kidnappings in Nigeria, with more than 700 children having been abducted since December 2020.
2. Ugandan government minister survives assassination attempt.
Gunmen have attacked and injured Uganda’s Minister for Transport, General Katumba Wamala. Wamala’s daughter and driver were killed during the attack. Their vehicle was attacked near their home in Kampala by men on motorbikes. General Wamala is a very well-respected politician and former military leader. Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, has suggested that the government already has some clues as to the identity and motivation of the attackers and has vowed to bring them to justice.
3. Cargo ship carrying chemicals and oil sinks off the shore of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan navy is bracing for an oil spill after the Singaporean registered MX X-Press Pearl has sunk off the island’s western coast, in what is being described as its worst ever man-made disaster. The cargo ship was carrying nearly 1500 containers including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, amongst other toxic chemicals. The navy has been using hazmat equipment to remove the debris washed up on nearby beaches, but experts warn this will do little to forestall the coming ecological disaster. Already scarce fishing populations and related ecosystems will have been damaged, but only time will tell what the full environmental cost of the shipwreck will be.
4. India releases second arms embargo list in bid to increase indigenous defence production.
India has announced another 108 weapons systems and platforms that will face an import ban, which the Ministry of Defence titles a ““Second Positive Indigenisation List”. India is attempting to decrease its reliance on defence imports in order to promote indigenous production and boost exports. The bans laid out in the second list will be gradually implemented from 2021-2025 and largely include products already produced in India such as next-generation corvettes; single-engine light helicopters and airborne early warning and control systems. The Society of Indian Defence manufacturers noted that “The second positive indigenisation list is another testament of the confidence placed by the government and the Armed Forces on the Industry to deliver cutting-edge defence technology for India’s security requirements”.
5. Australia and New Zealand display united front on security concerns in the Indo-Pacific.
During their first face to face meeting since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Scott Morisson and Jacinda Ardern spoke with a unified voice on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. Both leaders voiced deep concern over Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and towards the Uighur minority within China’s own borders. Ardern was keen to stress that New Zealand’s policy did not differ from Australia’s on these matters, in a subtle reversal of New Zealand’s previous rhetoric on China, which was less direct in its condemnation of China than that of its Five Eyes partners. The two partners also agreed on responses to the ongoing Pandemic and global nuclear-disarmament policy.