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Weekly Spotlight: 7 April 2024

1.      Regional Security System Begins Unity Exercise 2024 in St Lucia

On 2 April 2024, over 200 military and police personnel gathered in Saint Lucia to take part in Unity Exercise 2024 (UNEX 24): the Regional Security System’s (RSS) annual joint exercise, the largest in over 15 years. UNEX 24, which is scheduled to conclude on 13 April, will reportedly focus on contemporary security themes including transnational crime, terrorism, and arms trafficking, all whilst developing technical military skills relevant for deployments both on land and at sea. Ronald Philip, former Acting Commissioner of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, described UNEX 24 as “much needed”, explaining that “such training exercises are designed to prepare member states for any eventuality which may pose a threat to our region, or issues which may undermine citizen safety and security.”

CWSRG is delighted to be an invited observer of the exercise and is enabling a blue-force tracking capability uplift for the duration of UNEX 24.


2.      Ghana and Kenya Expand Bilateral Trade, Technical, and Security Cooperation

On 3 April 2024, representatives from Ghana and Kenya agreed to form a bilateral commission aimed at increasing free trade, technical cooperation, and defence agreements between the two countries. Specifically, delegates from both nations signed a memorandum of understanding to elevate the existing Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC), which was witnessed by both President William Ruto of Kenya and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana during a ceremony in Accra. Discussions also involved facilitating closer bilateral cooperation on a wider range of themes including defence, manufacturing, and governance, whilst also maintaining a mutual commitment to support one another via multilateral mechanisms such as the Commonwealth.


3.      Bangladeshi Military Arrest Kuki-Chin National Front Leader

On 07 April 2024, Bangladeshi security officials announced the successful capture and arrest of Cheosim Bom: a key leadership figure within the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) insurgent movement. Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB): an elite unit comprised of members from the army, navy, and air force, successfully conducted a raid against Mr Bom’s home in Bandarban, during which the suspect was found hiding inside a locker. This raid forms part of the Bangladeshi military’s broader campaign against the KNF, who have been known to collaborate with Islamist groups and conduct terrorist attacks against local communities in recent months.


4.      Malaysia Strengthens Cybersecurity Legislation with New Bill

On 03 April 2024, Malaysia’s upper house successfully passed the Cyber Security Bill 2024, marking a significant advancement in Malaysia’s cybersecurity standards. Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo explained that the bill would enhance the nation’s overall cybersecurity preparedness by implementing improved standards, measures, and processes absent in prior legislation. Specifically, this legislation will be used to help Malaysian government ensure the viability and efficiency of the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII): a mechanism designed to process all cyber incidents relevant to national security. Mr Singh Deo further elaborated that the bill would adopt a risk-based approach, and determine protective controls against future technological developments.


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