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Weekly Spotlight: 10 March 2024

1.      Sixty Villagers Abducted by Kaduna State Militants

During the early morning hours (local time) of 12 March 2024, unidentified militants in Kaduna State abducted approximately sixty residents from their homes in the village of Buba, located in the Kajuru Local Government Area.  According to local eyewitness reports, the militants stormed the village while residents were asleep, firing indiscriminately towards random houses before forcing a number of residents into nearby forests. While military intervention did eventually prevent the suspects from taking further hostages, the status of the sixty missing villagers remains unknown as of writing. Moreover, this incident occurred only five days after the high-profile attack against a school in Kuriga, located only 90 kilometres away, in which 287 students were abducted.


2.      South African Intellectual Property Database Targeted by Cyber-Attack

On 12 March 2024, cybersecurity researchers confirmed that South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), a government agency responsible for administering the registration and storage of intellectual property data for businesses nationwide, was recently targeted by a cyber-attack. A CIPC spokesperson confirmed that while the attack did compromise the personal data of employees and clients, only a limited number of stakeholders were affected. Furthermore, steps are now reportedly being taken to “ensure that CIPC systems and platforms are protected from unlawful and/or unauthorised access and abuse, and remain available to our clients for transacting.”


3.      Indian Navy Rescues Seventeen Sailors from Somali Pirates

On 16 March, Indian naval personnel, including special commando units, successfully rescued seventeen hostages from Somali pirates, who had previously captured the Maltese-flagged MV Ruen cargo vessel and its crew members in December 2023. The INS Kolkata, with the support of other naval vessels and aircraft, intercepted the vessel 1,400 nautical miles from the Indian coast, where it is believed that the suspects intended to commit additional acts of piracy. An Indian naval spokesperson explained that “the pirates on board the vessel were called upon to surrender and release the vessel and any civilians they may be holding against their will”, emphasising that “the Indian navy remains committed to maritime security and the safety of seafarers in the region.”  


4.      New Zealand and India Emphasise Shared Security Commitments During Bilateral Summit

Following a successful four-day visit to India, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters hailed the shared commitment of both India and New Zealand towards tackling shared security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. In an address given alongside Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on 13 March, Foreign Minister Peters emphasised the two countries’ mutual respect for the rule of law and preference to pursue peaceful resolution wherever possible in their joint Indo-Pacific security approach. Bilateral discussions between Indian and New Zealand representatives also encompassed a broad range of additional topics including tourism, agricultural technology, and education. Foreign Minister Peters added that the two ministers had agreed to work towards a “step-up in their relationship”, which will include further high-level visits in both directions taking place throughout 2024 and beyond.


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