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Weekly Spotlight: 16th June 2023

1. Canada Donates Security Equipment to Trinidad and Tobago

A donation of security equipment from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Canadian government was officially received by Trinidadian National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds at the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Headquarters in Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas on the 12th of June. The donation was comprised tactical gear such as metal detectors, helmets, communications devices, and protective vests, in addition to training programs to assist the Trinidadian Coast Guard with strengthening maritime security and local law enforcement. This initiative highlights the critical importance of ensuring that all nations have easy access to the latest equipment, and of bilateral and multilateral partnerships working in tandem to provide effective and comprehensive security arrangements.

2. Nigeria Signs Data Protection Act into Law

Recently elected Nigerian President Bola Tinubu signed a data protection act into law on the 12th of June. The act mandates the establishment of a National Data Protection Commission (NDPC) to monitor the fair and safe use of both commercial and personal online data, which will be headed by a national commissioner appointed for a four-year term. The law’s passing was formally announced by Dr Vincent Olatunji at the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) validation workshop hosted in Abuja. This reform clearly illustrates President Tinubu’s understanding that data protection is an increasingly integral component of domestic security, and his desire to transform Nigeria into a regional cybersecurity and digital leader.

3. Kenyan Officers Killed in Landmine Attack

In Garissa County, 8 Kenyan police officers were killed in a suspected al-Shabaab landmine attack on the 13th of June. The Special Branch Officers were conducting a routine patrol near the village of Bodhei when their vehicle struck a road-based landmine, killing all personnel on board and badly damaging the vehicle. Commissioner John Otieno commented that he “Suspects the work of al-Shabab, who are now targeting security forces and passenger vehicles,” but added that he was still awaiting a full report on the incident. This attack followed shortly after their suicide bomb raid on an African Union base in late May, and continues to shows Al-Shabaab’s increased activity in the region which will undoubtedly require further regional security cooperation to quell.

4. India and Pakistan Prepare for Cyclone Biparjoy

In anticipation of Cyclone Biparjoy making landfall, India and Pakistan have collectively evacuated over 170,000 civilians from Gujarat and the Sindh province. The powerful cyclone poses a significant risk to life, with reported storm surges of over 4 meters and wind speeds approaching 120 Kph. Thus far, 7 deaths have been reported in India, and have been predominantly attributed to fishermen caught in rough seas and citizens located near collapsing walls. The emergency services, hospitals, and national militaries have been placed on standby to respond, and both national governments have issued warnings to cancel trains, close roads, and postpone fishing activities. Events such as these highlight the opportunities for collaboration in response to environmental disasters, and the need for real-time information sharing.

5. New Zealand and Fiji Sign Defence Agreement

On the 14th of June, a statement of intent and status of forces agreement were signed between New Zealand Defence minister Andrew Little and Fijian Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua in Suva. The defence agreement outlines mechanisms to facilitate greater cooperation between New Zealand and Fiji in areas such as intelligence exchange, joint military exercises, and collaborative disaster response. A joint statement from Ministers Little and Tikoduadua explained that the agreement will provide “a legal framework for presence of forces in their respective territories” and reaffirms a “close bilateral relationship”. This treaty further illustrates the continued Pacific island trend of strengthening security arrangements through bilateral pacts, such as those agreed between Vanuatu and Australia.


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