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Weekly Spotlight: 5 November 2023

1.      Belize Hosts Regional Police Chiefs for Transnational Crime Prevention Summit

From 30-31 October, Belize hosted law enforcement representatives from across the Caribbean at the 28th Ordinary General Assembly of the Chiefs and Directors of Police for Central America, the Caribbean, Columbia, and Mexico. The assembly aims to generate solutions to an array of transnational security issues including drug smuggling, human trafficking, and cybercrime by emphasising increased collaboration between regional police forces, a sentiment which was further echoed by recently appointed President of the association Chester Williams, Belize’s Commissioner of Police. Commissioner Williams stated that as president, he would attempt to “enhance citizen security not just within our respective countries, but across the Central American and Caribbean regions,” with Belize’s Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa praising the gathering’s “ultra-holistic approach” to tackling crime.


2.      Boko Haram Attack in Yobe State Kills Thirty-Seven

During the early morning hours of 31 October, Boko Haram insurgents attacked civilians in the Geidam district of Yobe state, resulting in at least thirty-seven deaths. The incident occurred in the village of Gurokayeya, where militants first opened fire on residents before staging a subsequent landmine attack during the funeral service for the initial seventeen dead, which resulted in in twenty additional deaths. In response, the Yobe state government held an emergency meeting on 01 November, following which security personnel were quickly deployed to prevent further insurgent activity in the immediate term. Abdulsalam Dahiru, a Yobe government security aide, further informed reporters that local authorities were studying reports on the infiltration of insurgents from Borno state to “stave off future occurrences.”


3.      Three Military Convoys Attacked in Western Pakistan

In the western states of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, attacks conducted against three separate Pakistani military convoys on 03 November resulted in twenty-one deaths, the majority of whom were security personnel. The three attacks were carried out using a combination of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), bombs, and gunfire assaults, all of which resulted in civilian casualties. It is widely believed that all three attacks were conducted by Baloch separatist groups, who have repeatedly taken militant action against the central Pakistani government due to perceived economic exploitation in recent months. Feroze Jamal Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s caretaker Minister of Information, lamented the “precious loss of life” incurred following the attacks, and emphasised his condemnation of terrorist acts “in the strongest words.”


4.      Regional Naval Commanders Discuss Joint Maritime Security at Goa Maritime Conclave

From 29-31 October, naval commanders from across the Indo-Pacific attended the 4th Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) to discuss a wide range of maritime security issues. The meeting was represented by senior delegations from several Commonwealth nations including Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia, the Maldives, Singapore, and Bangladesh. In addition to facilitating discussions surrounding conventional security issues such as illegal arms trafficking and territorial disputes, this year’s GMC also endeavoured to place emphasis on non-traditional security threats including climate-driven displacement of coastal communities. The meeting also played host to a series of sideline bilateral discussions between attendees, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that Sri Lankan commanders may have discussed the possibility of procuring new Indian-manufactured ships. 


5.      Australia Initiates Provision of Security Support to Solomon Islands Ahead of Pacific Games

In anticipation of this month’s upcoming Pacific Games, the Australian Defence Force initiated the transfer of USD $8.3 million worth of security assistance to the Solomon Islands on 03 November. The handover ceremony, attended by both Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Australian High Commissioner Rod Hilton, formally marked the transfer of advanced equipment, training, and long-term maintenance agreements to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. During the ceremony, High Commissioner Hilton confirmed that this transfer was explicitly requested by Solomon Islands leadership, and reaffirmed that “Australia takes very seriously the trust the Solomon Islands places in us to partner with them on their security needs.”


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