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Weekly Spotlight: 24 December 2023

1.      Trinidad and Tobago Regiment Completes Training of 113 New Recruits

On 16 December 2023, 113 new recruits were officially initiated into the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment (TTR) following a Passing Out Parade held at Chaguaramas’s Teteron Barracks. In a speech given after the conclusion of the Passing Out Parade, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds encouraged the new recruits to abide by the TTR’s core principles of “courage, loyalty, integrity, mutual respect, discipline, and teamwork”, and commended their choice to “contribute to the greater security of our nation.” During his address, Mr Hinds also explained that the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) was in the process of procuring fifty new maritime patrol vessels, and that repairs were being undertaken for four existing patrol vessels and two supply vessels.


2.      British Naval Vessel Deployed to Caribbean for Anti-Drug Smuggling Mission

HMS Trent, a Royal Navy Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, has been deployed to the Caribbean to assist local authorities in intercepting illegal drug smugglers. The patrol ship will assume duties from HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 destroyer which seized approximately $200 million worth of cocaine across the region’s June-November 2023 hurricane season. Previously, the HMS Trent was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea, where crew members honed specialist maritime security skills by delivering anti-piracy training, conducting navigation training, and participating in exercise Grand Africa Nemo (GANO) alongside regional partners such as the Nigerian Navy.


3.      Islamist Militants Kill Ten Civilians in Western Uganda

During the early morning hours (local time) of 19 December, militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) killed ten civilians during an attack against a village located in western Uganda’s Kamwenge district. According to Ugandan People’s Defence Force spokesperson Brigadier General Felix Kulayigye, members of the Islamist Allied Democratic Force (ADF) crossed into Kamwenge district from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where they have been increasingly targeted by government forces in recent months. In response, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Major General Geoffrey Kasigazi warned citizens in western Uganda to “remain vigilant” against the threat of future attacks by extremist militias.


4.      Pakistani Taliban Commander Eliminated Following Security Operation

Ghazanfar Nadim, a senior commander within the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was killed during an operation by state security forces during the early morning hours (local time) of 23 December. Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) confirmed that an anonymous tip led authorities to an address in Chiniot, located approximately 200 kilometres from Lahore, where the militants were intercepted. Mr Nadim, who carried a £14,000 bounty, was directly involved in orchestrating several terrorist attacks, such as a 2011 bombing against an Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) building in Faisalabad which killed twenty-five and injured over 100 civilians.


5.      Bangladesh Railway Pledges Increased Security Resources to Tackle Vandalism

Following a recent spike in security incidents, Bangladesh Railway (BR) announced plans to improve security measures across its network on 22 December 2023. One component of this plan is the introduction of Automatic Simulation System (ACS) technology, which uses an automatic block system to stop trains before reaching damaged sections of tracks or obstacles. Secondly, BR has requested the deployment of 2,700 security personnel from the Ministry of Home Affairs to protect network infrastructure against vandalism. Specifically, 300 high-risk sections of track have been identified as potential targets for vandals, which will be patrolled and guarded by the 2,700-strong contingent.


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