Updated: Dec 26, 2021
Shining a spotlight on some of the key security stories from across the Commonwealth
1. Canadian PM makes Indo-Pacific a priority for new ministers.
With new ministers added to the Canadian government’s Cabinet in October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a number of letters on Thursday which emphasised the need to set up a wide-ranging strategy for the Indo-Pacific. With respect to Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, for example, Trudeau stated that she will ‘lead Canada’s contribution to addressing global challenges, by deepening our partnerships in regions of strategic importance, such as the Indo-Pacific… and strengthening Canada’s diplomatic capacity’. The region was also mentioned in the mandates for Minister of Defence Anita Anand, as well as Mary Ng, the Minister of International Trade. This puts Canada in line with a number of countries, including the UK, that have placed engagement within the Indo-Pacific as a high priority in their foreign policy endeavours.
2. Mozambique’s Defence and Security forces kill militia leader.
The Commander General of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces successfully eliminated the leader of a militia group that had been active in the province of Niassa, located in the north of the country.
In statement that was televised, Commander General of the Police Bernardino Rafael stated that, ‘In this engagement, one of the wanted terrorists, a man named Cassimo, was hit… from his death, we conclue that these arte terrrorists who have crossed from Cabo Delgado to Mecula’.The Niassa province, which is mostly sparse compared to its neighbouring Cabo Delgado, has reportedly been used by militias to avoid the presence of security forces. An intelligence think tank, Crisis24, warned that that attacks would continue without intervention measures from the military. Last month, the province also saw an attack on a police contingent, as well as several civilians, by militia groups.
3. Militant attack on bus in Kashmir kills three police officers and injures 11.
Three police officers were killed and at least 11 others injured on Monday as militants opened fire on a police bus in Srinagar city, Indian-administered Kashmir. Inspector general of the police in Kashmir Vijay Kumar suggested that an affiliate of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a terrorist organisation, was likely responsible. He also revealed that they believed the attack to be premeditated, as the bus was returning to camp following routine duties. On his official Twitter account, a statement read that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘has sought details on the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir. He has also expressed condolences to the families of those security personnel who have been martyred in the attack’. It comes just days after two policeman were fatally shot by terrorists in Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
4. La Nina and climate change present severe flooding for Pacific islands, including Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
The combination of La Nina - which produces wet weather conditions over the Pacific Ocean every few years - and climate change has brought severe flooding to nations including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. In some areas, La Nina is currently rising sea levels by around 15-20 centimeters, which has caused widespread damage to buildings and destroyed food crops. Additionally, in Papua New Guinea alone, at least 7,000 people have also been forced out of their homes, according to a UN report released on Tuesday. Notably, climatologists have identified that, given how the western equatorial Pacific has experienced fairly normal levels of spring tides this year, it is the combination of sea level rise from climate change and La Nina that has produced particularly bad flooding this year. In north and east Australia, meanwhile, the weather pattern is also expected to pose danger; La Nina usually brings heavy rainfall in the region, as well as an increased number of cyclones to what is usual.