Travel risk round-up: 24 May

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Indonesia: Multiple Killed, Hundreds Injured in Violent Rallies in Jakarta

International media sources report on Wednesday, 22 May, that at least six people have been killed and hundreds more injured in clashes between police and supporters of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto after a post-election rally turned violent. According to the Jakarta mayor, Anies Baswedan, about 200 injured protesters have been admitted to various hospitals in Jakarta. The situation calmed at around 0100hrs (1800 UTC) on Wednesday, but another clash broke out and expanded to Tanah Abang Market as the police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd of protesters. The rioting continued until 0330hrs (2030 UTC) when protesters reportedly set fire to a police dormitory in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, along with buses and cars in the compound. Further unrest is expected as groups of opposition protesters remain on the streets.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in Jakarta are advised to minimise the time spent in the vicinity of any type of demonstration in order to mitigate against the risks of incidental crowd violence, opportunistic crime and heavy-handed crowd dispersal methods. Monitor local media for updates on the demonstrations and associated travel disruptions.

Central African Republic: Dozens Killed after Armed Group Attacks Villages in Ouham-Pende Prefecture

According to national and international media sources, at least 34 civilians were killed in an attack by an armed group on three villages in the Ouham-Pende prefecture on Tuesday, 21 May. The attack, believed to have been conducted by elements of the Return, Complaint and Rehabilitation (3R) group, targeted the villages of Koundjili, Ndjondjom and Bohong. The attack, which has been strongly condemned by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission Force in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), has led to the biggest single loss of life since the peace agreement between the government and 14 militias were signed in February. Further information is awaited.

Advice for businesses and travellers

The Central African Republic remains a high-risk security environment and all non-essential travel to the country should be avoided. Operationally-critical deployments should only be conducted following a thorough localised risk assessment and in conjunction with a vetted security provider.

Canada: Evacuations Ordered, Highway Closed as Wildfire Spreads near Marlboro, West-Central Alberta

Regional media sources report on Sunday, 19 May, that homes have been evacuated and Highway 16 has been closed in both directions in the Marlboro area as a wildfire has spread on both sides of the highway over the weekend. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has said that a reception centre has been setup for those who have had to evacuate their homes. Highway 16 is a major east-west route through Alberta province and major delays are likely during the closure.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in affected areas are advised to remain alert to any directives issued by authorities and familiarise themselves with evacuation protocols in their communities. Furthermore, travellers should avoid outdoor activities, due to poor air quality caused by the fire and heat, as well as anticipate localised travel disruptions as a result of ongoing emergency response operations and road closures.

Saudi Arabia: Houthi Drone Strike Targets Najran Airport Weapons Depot

International media sources on Tuesday, 21 May, report that Houthi rebels launched a drone strike at a Najran airport weapons depot. A coalition spokesman said that the target was one of the Houthi’s promised ‘300’ that have been threatened lately. Although the depot was destroyed by the strike, there have been no reports of any deaths resulting from the attack.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Travellers should exercise an increased level of situational awareness and heed any directives issued by local authorities and security forces. Due to the ongoing risk of conflict spillover, those in Saudi regions bordering Yemen should continue to exercise a high degree of caution and coordinate all movements near the border with security forces and local authorities.

Lebanon: Explosions and Gunfire Heard in the Shebaa Farms Area, Mount Hermon

According to emerging social media sources on Friday, 24 May, a series of explosions have been heard in the Shebba Farms area, near Mount Hermon, shortly followed by alleged intermittent machine gun fire. The reports suggest the incident happened in the vicinity of the Fashkul site, which oversees Kafrshuba and some of the villages of Arqub. Shebaa Farms is the name given to a small strip of disputed land along the Lebanese-Syria border and connected to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The territory remains a flashpoint and has seen violence ever since Israeli forces withdrew in 2000.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those in the Shebba Farms area are advised to monitor local media sources for further updates on the incident and heed any directives issued by local authorities and security forces. Travellers should minimise non-essential movement in areas along the border with Syria and the Golan Heights due to the risk of conflict-spillover.

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