top of page

Weekly Spotlight: 26 November 2023

1.      State of Emergency Declared in Four Jamaican Parishes Due to Rising Murder Rates

The parishes of St Catherine, St James, Hanover, and Clarendon have declared States of Emergency (SOEs) in response to Jamaica’s rising murder rates. According to a press release given by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the SOEs will remain in place for fourteen days, having commenced at 0001hrs (local time) on 23 November. Each parish has seen record murder rates over the past year, with Clarendon parish registering a 14% increase in murder cases compared to figures from 2022. Prime Minister Holness emphasised the critical role of community engagement in curbing this concerning trend, commenting that “the cooperation of every Jamaican is essential”. Furthermore, the Prime Minister explained that the declaration of SOEs would allow security forces, including the Jamaican Defence Force (JDF), to conduct “targeted operations aimed at dismantling criminal networks.”

2.      Sierra Leone Imposes Nationwide Curfew Following Armed Clashes in Freetown

During the early morning hours of 26 November, armed clashes were recorded in the Sierra Leonean capital of Freetown, prompting the government to declare a nationwide curfew. Reportedly, rioters attempted to breach a military armoury in Freetown’s Wilberforce District, in which several embassies are also located. Additionally, a barracks in the Murray Town district, home to the Sierra Leonean Navy’s Headquarters, was also targeted by violent assaults. According to President Julius Bio, Sierra Leonean Armed Forces personnel were able to successfully restore order within the Wilberforce district, and are currently in the process of apprehending the parties responsible for the attacks. President Bio further elaborated that the Sierra Leonean government would “continue to protect the peace and security of Sierra Leone against the forces that wish to truncate our much treasured stability”, and remains “resolute in its determination to protect democracy”. 

3.      Thirty-Three Arrested in Northern Zambia During Illegal Mining Raid

Police authorities have reported thirty-three arrests following a raid by joint security agencies against an illegal mine on 22 November 2023. The raid was conducted by officers from local police, the Immigration Department, and the Drug Enforcement Commission in the Mpika district, and resulted in the arrest of thirty-three individuals involved in illegal mining practices. Among this group of suspects, illegal immigrants were also reported to have been identified and detained. According to Rae Hamoonga, a spokesperson for Zambia Police, authorities were able to seize a total of 172 explosives from the illegal mine.

4.      India and Bangladesh Vow to Strengthen Bilateral Security Ties

On 24 November, representatives from India and Bangladesh met in New Delhi to discuss methods of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, including the development of closer security ties.  During the India-Bangladesh Foreign Office Consultation, attended by Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, comprehensive discussions regarding regional security, the ongoing Teesta River dispute, and improvements to critical energy infrastructure were held between the two representatives. India-Bangladesh Foreign Office Consultations are conducted regularly to facilitate a formal institutional dialogue mechanism between the two states, the next of which is due to be hosted in Bangladesh in 2024.

5.      Malaysian Defence Ministry to Bolster Border Security Provisions

Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Malaysia’s Minister of Defence, emphasised the need to increase staff numbers, equipment, and funding to better protect Malaysian borders from transnational crime syndicates. In a media statement given on 26 November, Mr Hasan explained that while the Malaysian government’s 2024 budget allowed such strategies to be implemented, decisions regarding the specific allocation of resources had yet to be made. One proposal is to install additional CCTV cameras along electric border fences shared with Thailand and Indonesia, which Mr Hasan posits could significantly reduce cross-border smuggling between the three nations. Additionally, the Ministry of Defence is reportedly in the process of procuring observation drones and upgraded border control post facilities, both of which could further assist Malaysian authorities in combatting transnational criminal activity.


bottom of page