Intellifusion Newsletter – 5 Incidents to catch up


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Friday 1st April 2022

Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place in each region in the last seven days;

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Thailand

Two high profile insurgency-related incidents were reported in southern Thailand last this week, as insurgents targeted rangers personnel with an IED on the 26th March and ambushed a police patrol on the 30th March. In the first incident, four rangers personnel were wounded by the remote-controlled IED blast which took place in the Choeng Khiri area of the Si Sakhon district.

On the 30th March, suspected insurgents ambushed a police vehicle in the Bannang Sata district of Yala province, killing two police officers and wounding two others. Insurgency related incidents in Thailand are concentrated in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, with attacks mostly involving small attacks on security forces checkpoints and IED attacks on rural roads. Peace talks have been ongoing between the two sides throughout 2022, and whilst officials involved have spoken of progress being made, progress is still reported to be slow and attacks and clashes have continued in southern Thailand.

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NORTH AMERICA

Virginia

On the 29th March, a bomb threat was reported at the Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) campus in Alexandria. This caused the closure of the campus where First Lady Dr Jill Biden was due to teach an English class. Following this initial bomb threat, a second threat was also reported targeting NOVAs other five campuses in Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge which were also closed. First Lady Biden was informed of the threat before leaving the White House and was never in danger. No credible evidence of any device or arrests has been reported.

This incident follows a similar spate of bomb threats targeting schools and colleges across Washington D.C. on the 9th and 8th February. These threats disrupted a visit to Dunbar High School by First Gentleman Doug Emhoff. In turn, these bomb threats followed others targeting dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the United States on the 1st February, 31st January and 4th January coinciding with the start of Black History Month. People and businesses should be aware of the possibility of further copycat bomb threats affecting schools and colleges across the United States.

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EUROPE

Switzerland

This week has seen at least three ATM robberies occur across Switzerland along with one each in Germany and the UK. In nearly all of these incidents, the suspects used improvised explosives/flammable items to breach the ATM and were carried out between 0200hrs and 0400hrs. This type of criminal activity has been a long-running feature in Europe and the tactics, techniques and procedures are quite common. However, these five incidents in one week have seen the total for March reach 25; this is just over the combined total for January and February 2022.

A potential explanation for this sudden increase could be due to improving weather in Europe and could suggest that as the weather becomes warmer, it may become to carry out ATM robberies between 0200hrs and 0400hrs. What could further exacerbate this problem is worsening economic conditions across Europe; rising inflation, increasing costs of living and unemployment will be a potential motivator for people to turn to crime in order to make a living. With the approach of Spring/Summer and worsening economic problems, banks may need to pay attention to protective security measures for their ATMs.

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?

AFRICA

Tunisia

President Kais Saied announced the dissolution of the suspended parliament after 124 members of parliament held an online meeting during which they voted through a bill against the “exceptional measures” imposed by President Saied in July 2021. President Saied described the meeting as illegal and accused those responsible for wanting to destabilise the country, while the justice minister asked the attorney general to open a judicial investigation into those that took part in the meeting on charges of “conspiring against state security”.

The decision to dissolve parliament has been condemned by a number of political parties including the PDL party which called on Tunisians to protest. The UGTT trade union, a key supporter of President Saied, are yet to announce their position on the dissolution of parliament. President Saied has warned that any recourse to violence will be confronted by security forces including the military. President Saied dismissed the Prime Minister and suspended Parliament in July 2021 amid growing anger among many Tunisians with the socio-economic crisis enveloping the country. However, the economic situation has not improved since he took power and support for him has fallen.

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SOUTH AMERICA

Colombia

On the 28th March, Colombia’s Defence Minister claimed security forces killed 11 FARC dissidents and arrested 4 more after a skirmish in the village of El Remanso, Putumayo. However, multiple sources now suggest that there was no skirmish, and that innocent civilians were targeted instead. Residents of El Remanso were allegedly organising a community event when soldiers of the Colombian Army arrived. A woman who survived the incident claims that the soldiers forced the villagers against a wall and demanded that they reveal information about the guerillas.

After several hours of denying that there were any guerillas in the village, the men, including minors, were separated from the women and executed. A different source suggests that the soldiers placed weapons next to the dead bodies before taking pictures of the scene. The soldiers allegedly disappeared after loading the bodies onto a military helicopter. Multiple human rights organisations are now demanding an investigation into the incident to verify these claims.

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Houthi drone strike reported at an Aramco facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

A large fire was reported at an Aramco oil plant in Jeddah on the 25th March 2022. It was believed to be the North Jeddah Bulk Plant. The attack came 48 hours before the city was due to host a Formula One race and has since been claimed by Houthi rebels.

Thanks to our OSINT community member ‘fela’, who shared the breaking story with us in the Middle East and North Africa channel of our crowdsourced network.