top of page

Weekly Spotlight: 13 August 2023

1. Twenty Killed by Insurgents in Plateau State, Nigeria

At least twenty residents from the village of Heipang, Plateau State, were killed by armed gunmen during the early morning hours of 10 August. Local reports indicate that the gunmen entered the village at approximately 0100hrs, following which they opened fire on residents, seemingly at random. Whilst authorities have not confirmed the identity of the attackers, unverified reports suggest they may hail from the nomadic Fulani community, who have been known to clash with the region’s pastoralist communities over access to agricultural resources such as land and water. Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang stated that he was “deeply saddened” by the attack, and appealed to federal and state security agencies to “redouble their efforts to put an end to these senseless killings.”

2. Kenyan Military Assumes Responsibility for Nyeri County Forest Preservation

Following complaints of rising security tensions, drought conditions, and land mismanagement from local residents, the Kenyan military has intervened to assume responsibility for forestry in Nyeri County. Reports indicate that the Kenyan Forestry Service allowed widespread illegal logging to occur throughout the region, which, in addition to climate related environmental threats such as higher temperatures and lower rainfall, exacerbated tensions between nomadic and pastoralist communities over increasingly scarce resources. As such, the Kenyan military has assumed control over the forests, where they plan to implement a holistic management approach involving planting new trees, monitoring and preventing illegal logging, and encouraging sustainable farming practices. Deputy Commander of the Kenyan 4th Brigade Joel Maiyo stated his intention to “transform our humble environment into something that everybody can respect.”

3. Baloch Liberation Army Attacks Convoy of Chinese Nationals in Gwadar

On 13 August, militants from the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) attacked an SUV convoy transporting twenty-three Chinese nationals in the southern port city of Gwadar, Balochistan. The convoy, consisting mostly of engineers working on Chinese state-funded development projects, was attacked by the insurgents using small arms and hand grenades, according to the Pakistani Military. Gwadar Police Deputy Chakar Baloch confirmed that the attack was subsequently met by a rapid response from security forces, who killed two of the militants responsible. The BLA reportedly initiated the attack in opposition to Chinese-funded development projects within the region, such as the Gwadar deep-water port, and appear likely to continue targeting Chinese nationals moving forward.

4. Three Bulk Carries Robbed in Singapore Strait

An 11 August report from Reuters has revealed that three carriers travelling through the Singapore Strait suffered low-level thefts from 08-09 August. According to the Singapore Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC), one Cyprus-flagged and two Liberian-flagged bulk carriers were targeted in the Phillips Channel, where thieves boarded the slow-travelling vessels at night before absconding with a small number of on-board goods. The IFC has suggested that all three attacks were conducted by the same group, whose identity remains unknown at the time of writing. Over fifty piracy incidents have occurred in the region since January 2023, and the IFC has urged all vessels travelling through the channel to exercise caution against such threats.

5. New Zealand Defence Force Delivers Emergency Relief to Bougainville Communities

Following a direct request from Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape, the Royal New Zealand Air Force despatched a C-130 Hercules aircraft to deliver aid supplies to communities in Bougainville on 11 August, following a volcanic eruption. Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Centre (NDC) estimated the eruption to have affected over 8,000 people, with 3,500 evacuated to emergency camps. The C-130, carrying over 7,000 kilograms of humanitarian supplies including temporary shelters, diesel generators, and water purification systems, landed in the town of Buka, following its departure from Auckland the previous day. Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour, Commander of the New Zealand Joint Forces, stated that “the New Zealand Defence Force remains committed to supporting Pacific neighbours when called upon,” with Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chris Seed adding that “Aotearoa New Zealand’s thoughts are with the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville at this time.”

bottom of page