Shining a spotlight on some of the key security stories from across the Commonwealth.
1. Barbados and Dominica named as two of the safest places in the Caribbean and Latin America in latest report.
The World Citizenship Report, produced by advisory firm CS Global Partners, has named Dominica and Barbados as two of the safest places in the Caribbean and Latin America, placing Dominica 33rd globally, only just behind Uruguay and Costa Rica as the third most secure in the region. In providing the reasoning behind its position, the report highlighted Dominica’s development of climate-resilient infrastructure to mitigate the effects of weather storms. ‘The region has also placed emphasis on physical safety, rule of law, and political stability’, the report continued, ‘Dominica [also] ranks high in categories like voice and accountability, where citizens feel empowered to hold leaders accountable’. Meanwhile, Dominica and the wider Caribbean is thought to offer ‘global citizens access to some of the best travel and economic markets in the world through its growing roster of visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations’, in the words CS Global Partners CEO.
2. Hundreds killed as bandits continue to wreak violence and mayhem in northwest Nigeria.
Armed bandits in Zamfara, northwest Nigeria, are thought to have killed around 200 villagers between Tuesday and Thursday last week, with at least 10,000 being displaced. Being pursued by the Nigerian army, the bandits were trying to escape targeted airstrikes and then began attacking several villages with gunfire. Homes were also burnt in the two-day onslaught. One community leader of a targeted village revealed they had buried 143 people as a result of the attacks. Returning to their villages on Saturday, locals began organising local burials. Nneka Ikem Anibeze, minister of humanitarian affairs, stated ‘We are very saddened by this incessant invasion…. And we also worried about the displaced persons who are fleeing in their hundreds from their communities’. Airstrikes on bandits have increased in recent weeks, including on Monday, when at least 100 militants were reported to have been killed by the Nigerian military.
3. Pakistan’s first National Security Policy looks to improve ties with India.
Pakistan’s first National Security Policy, due to be formally released on Friday, will stress the promotion of peace with neighbouring India, as reported by the Express Tribune on Tuesday. The policy includes steps to open trade and business ties with India, even despite the absence of a resolution on the contested territory of Kashmir. Ahead of the 100-page document’s release by Prime Minister Imran Khan, an anonymous Pakistani official stated ‘We are not seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years. The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbours’. Improving commercial ties between the two nations is also believed, in the policy, to be an important catalyst for this endeavor. Progress in the implementation of the policy, it was also revealed, would be reviewed on a monthly basis by the prime minister, with a yearly review set to be conducted as well. Areas being touched on in the document also include militant groups, migration, health, climate and food security.
4. Tropical Storm Cody forces over 4,000 to evacuate in Fiji and heads towards New Zealand.
Heavy rain generated by Storm Cody has caused significant flooding in Fiji, forcing over 4,000 people - many residing in Viti Lev - to flee to evacuation centres in the country’s Western and Central divisions. On Sunday, a man was also killed while attempting to cross a river in Tavua. Schools, some of which were used as makeshift evacuation centres, remain closed and several power lines are down, prompting alerts by the authorities for citizens to stay well away. The cyclone is now heading westwards, towards New Zealand, as the MetService warned the public of 5-8m waves that have ‘potential for significant impacts about the coast’. ‘sea surges… and coastal inundation’ are also expected to be effects of Cyclone Cody, though there remains some uncertainty with respect to its trajectory. For both Fiji and New Zealand, cyclone season occurs between the months of November and April every year, with an average of 10 forming during this time.