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The Cabinda State Liberation Front - Armed Forces of Cabinda (FLEC-FAC) claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting the Angolan army over the past few days, illustrating the high level of insecurity that prevails in this northwestern province landlocked between the two Congos.
The FLEC-FAC announced on February 15th that 9 members of the security forces were killed and several others injured following clashes in the localities of Bembica and Seva Tando-Macuco on February 14th, which also resulted in the dead of 2 of his fighters. Furthermore, the separatist movement forbidden the Angolan political parties from campaigning in the province as part of the general elections scheduled for next August, whose boycott it promotes.
This announcement came a day after a similar statement, in which the FLEC-FAC claimed responsibility for the deaths of 18 government soldiers between February 3rd and 10th. On February 7th, the group also instructed all foreign economic actors from the timber industry operating in the Buco Zau, Miconje, Massabi and Belize regions to leave Cabinda without delay. It also prohibited all motorized travel through the Maiombe forest and specified that any vehicle escorted by the security forces would from now be regarded as a legitimate military target.
Generally, this oil-producing province remains affected by latent instability due to the independentism claims of the FLEC-FAC, resulting in sporadic armed attacks which mainly target the security forces. According to separatist sources, at least fifty Angolan soldiers died during such clashes in 2016, an estimate that was categorically rejected by the authorities who on several occasions described the enclave’s security situation as "normal".
Thus, although the number of clashes between the FLEC-FAC and the security forces significantly decreased since the signing of a peace agreement with one of the FLEC branches in 2006, a concrete risk of attacks targeting foreign interests or local oil-related infrastructures remains. As such, several kidnappings of foreign nationals have been reported since the early 2000s.
In this context, it is strongly advised to avoid any travel to the Cabinda Province, notably in the Buco Zau, Miconje, Massabi and Belize regions due to the ongoing threats on foreign economic operators and convoys circulating in the area. In case of activity in the enclave, it is advisable to approach your consular services and security provider in order to adapt to new security developments.
Several criminal incidents have been signalled in the last weeks on the entire Emirati territory.
GEOS analysis :
Arrests have been reported by the Sharjah authorities on 12/19 including the dismantling of a gang composed of 19 men. Indeed, the latter would have been involved in 4 hold-ups having targeted cash transportations and bank agencies few days ago, located on King Abdul Aziz street (centre-east) in the district of Muweilah (centre) and in the vicinity of a shopping mall in the district of Al Mahra (centre-south) of the Sharjah emirate. Several police officers were injured during these robberies were about 1 million AED (258,567 EUR) was stolen. Furthermore, 3 other criminals were apprehended after burglaries of stores on 12/20 in the same emirate. Likewise, 2 men were arrested on 12/27 in the Northern district of Al Sabkha in Sharjah after a theft of a vehicle was reported in the area of Al Nuaimiya (south) in the neighbouring Emirate of Ajman on 12/25. Moreover, other incidents occured in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the recent days. As such, 4 men dressed as police officers to rob a Chinese citizen in the district of International city of Dubai on the evening of 11/3, were arrested on 12/27. In addition, one man was also apprehended on 12/05 after having burgled a vehicle parked in Abu Dhabi.
The criminal rate remains stable and low in the United Arab Emirates and the main criminal acts are linked to petty crime. Judiciary authorities of Sharjah announced in that extent on 11/21 that the majority of the cases reported were thefts and burglaries in 2016, and also mentioned a 50% decrease of the criminal acts reported in the emirate comparing to the previous year. Thus, a reinforcement of the security measures this year, including information campaigns on the rule of law, the deployment of at least 44 vehicle security patrols and the increase of security and monitoring cameras, would have contributed to this decrease while the totality of the cases were solved.
Therefore, it is advised to remain vigilant in order to limit the risk of theft and to avoid traveling in isolated or poorly lighted places. In case of aggression, it is advisable not to oppose any resistance and to yield to the attackers in order to avoid any disproportionate reaction of the latter. In addition, it is also recommended to remain vigilant in the vicinity of ATMs and to favour withdrawals within banks.