1. Bomb explodes outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital as the UK’s terror threat level is raised to severe.
In a stark reminder of the threat posed to the UK from suspected Islamist terror, Iraqi-born Emad Al Swealmeen detonated an improvised device in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital. The suicide bomber killed himself, but miraculously harmed only one other. The taxi’s driver, David Perry, managed to escape the vehicle before it erupted in flames.
Alongside the October assassination of British Member of Parliament David Amess, this has triggered an announcement from UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, that the UK’s terror threat had been raised from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely. Police stated they had found “significant items” when they searched two addresses associated with Al Swealmeen. Three further men were arrested in connection with the suicide attack.
2. Food and Agricultural Association warns of severe food crisis in Nigeria .
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) stated it predicts 16.9 million Nigerians to be in critical phases of food insecurity next year. Presenting the Cadre Harmonise Analysis Report in Abuja, FAO Country Representative Fred Kafeero confessed the crisis would peak in June and August 2022, imploring intervention from humanitarian and development organisations.
The report also revealed that 2.4 million people are already suffering from critical food insecurity in the country. Mr Kafeero stated it was ‘important that the government and other stakeholders take immediate actions to mitigate these effects and continuously monitor their drivers’. The states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe - which are currently most affected by armed conflict - are expected to feel the greatest impacts of the food crisis.
3. At least 3 killed and more injured as suicide bombers target Kampala.
On Tuesday, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for twin attacks that have killed 3 and injured over 30 in Kampala, Uganda. Suicide bombers detonated themselves both near the country’s parliament buildings and the capital’s central police station. Parliamentary proceedings have been suspended as the city reflects on what has been a recent bout of explosions taking place, including the detonation of a bomb in a bus just outside Kampala.
Responding to the latest incident, Ugandan authorities confirmed they had conducted police raids, killing at least five people connected to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group that has been allied with IS since 2019. One of those targetted by police was a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Abas Kirevu, who was thought to have been helping recruit members to the ADF. As many as 21 people have also been arrested following the attack.
4. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka look to boost air and maritime connectivity as IORA meeting takes place.
A bilateral meeting between Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Monem and Sri Lankan counterpart Gamini Lakshman was held on Monday, with the strengthening of air and maritime connectivity a key focus. Mr Laksham is visiting Dhaka for the Council of Ministers’ Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Monem stated that, based on historic linkages and a shared vision, relations between the two nations were “excellent”. Among other things, maritime security was noted as an aspect where ongoing cooperation was taking place.
The meeting is set against the context of broader security cooperation in the Indian Ocean. On Tuesday, Bangladesh assumed the chairmanship of the IORA from the United Arab Emirates, which it will hold for two years. In its own two-day meeting, the 23 countries constituting the IORA discussed future plans for the region. Emphasising the association’s focus on international cooperation, Monem stated “We do not want to see any unilateral dominance by any particular group or country in the Indian Ocean. This is our principle”.