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Weekly Spotlight: 4 February 2024

1.      Regional Security System Officers Complete Counter-Terrorism Training in Barbados

On 30 January 2024, twenty-four officers from the Regional Security System (RSS) began a four-week counter-terrorism training course hosted at the RSS’ Training Institute in Barbados. The course, which is taught by instructors from the Belize Defence Force’s Special Operations and Tactics Unit (SOTU), will provide training in countering threats including armed organised criminals, anti-government actors, and terrorism. RSS Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Roberta Beltran explained that the training course would help “strengthen the skillsets of our officers and will demonstrate how they should use Standard Operating Procedures to achieve interoperability among RSS Member States and operationalise responses in the event of any terrorists or anti-government threats.”


2.      Local Monarch Killed in Nigeria’s South-Western Kwara State

On 01 February 2024, unidentified gunmen killed a traditional monarch and abducted his wife from Nigeria’s south-western Kwara state. Reports indicate that multiple assailants stormed the palace of Oba Aremu Olusegun Cole, a local monarch, before opening fire and taking two residents hostage. In response, Kwara state police have initiated investigations into the incident, and bolstered security provisions in the area. Days before this event, two traditional rulers were also killed by unknown gunmen in the neighbouring Ekiti state, underscoring the severity of security challenges in the region and throughout Nigeria more broadly.


3.      Indian Navy Successfully Prevents Multiple Piracy Attempts Off Somali Coast

Reports from the Indian Navy confirm that on 02 February 2024, the INS Sharda successfully intercepted and prevented a pirate attack off the Somali coast, marking India’s third successful anti-piracy operation this week. Indian Naval personnel reported that after the Iranian-flagged Omari fishing vessel was boarded by seven pirates, a combination of helicopters, drones, and boats deployed from the INS Sharda coerced captors into releasing nineteen hostages, including eight Pakistani nationals. The rescue comes days after INS Sumitra rescued hijacked Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Naeemi off the eastern coast of Somalia during the late evening hours (local time) of 29 January, when the Indian Navy also assisted Seychellois and Sri Lankan authorities in intercepting a third hijacked vessel around 955 nautical miles east of Mogadishu.


4.      India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable Facilitates Closer Cooperation Regarding Food Security and Digital Transformation

During India’s 75th Republic Day celebrations, where Singaporean Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo was invited as Guest of Honour, High Commissioner to Singapore Shilpak Ambule emphasised the importance of the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR) in facilitating closer cooperation regarding food security, digital technologies, and green growth between the two nations. High Commissioner Ambule described the ISMR mechanism as being successful in “identifying specific pillars of cooperation,” before elaborating that “work is ongoing in these new fields of food security, digital transformation, green growth, skills, and emerging technologies." Lastly, the High Commissioner described Singapore as an “indispensable partner”, with whom “economic, financial, and trade ties continue to grow from strength to strength.”



5.      Fijian Ministry of Fisheries Pilots Rural Aquaculture Initiative to Improve National Food Security

In a bid to improve Fiji’s overall food security, the country’s Ministry of Fisheries announced the “Minister’s Program” initiative, which aims to promote cost-effective, sustainable aquaculture projects in rural areas, on 05 February 2024.  Kalaveti Ravu, Fiji’s Minister of Fisheries, explained during a visit to the Nairukuruku fish farm that the project aims to “send the message to people in our rural communities that there is a possibility of bringing the aquaculture program into various places that are located far away from the sea so that they can also have access to breeding and buying fresh fish.”


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