Security Advisory: FIFA World CupJune 23, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Half of the games down (32), and the sky has not fallen upon Brazil and the World Cup Finals. And unless FIFA attempts to snatch disaster from the hands of victory, as the Americans achieved last night in the 95th minute, all is looking to go well.
Although there is no game in Belo Horizonte today, the UK government has issued a warning concerning the likelihood of protests. It is the third largest city in Brazil and ranks 48th out of the 50 most dangerous cities according to the UN’s murder statistics. That said, six other host cities in Brazil make the list and none have seen much in the way of violence against tourists and fans. Steer clear of any areas that are known for being protest hotspots and leave at the first signs of unrest; don’t wait for things to get out of hand.
Fan fests have been great parties throughout the country for those who don’t have tickets to the games. They have had a good balance of freedom and security, preventing crime but letting the public enjoy themselves. After all, this is Brazil, who is better known for throwing big parties?!
We’re now into the last games of the round robin and there are four games a day for the next four days, two concurrent games, with no late match. Today’s games are in Sao Paulo (24C, 88% humidity, clear), Brasilia (26C, 77% humidity, slight chance of rain), Curitiba (21C, 94% humidity, clear), Recife (27C, 89% humidity, heavy rain expected).
Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 21, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
FIFA have announced it plans to beef up security around the Maracanã in Rio following the attempted breach by 87 un-ticketed Chilean fans. This is will come in the form of an increased presence of security forces as there is insufficient time to appropriately enhance security infrastructure. Be aware that this may cause further delays to getting into matches as cordons may be widened and more ticket checks put in place.
Today’s matches are in Belo Horizonte (22C, 81% humidity, slight chance of rain in the afternoon), Cuiaba (31C, 88% humidity and clear), and Fortaleza (30C, 88% humidity, Rain early, not for game time).
There have been no major fan safety incidents reported over the past few days and most of the wrinkles that arose in the first days of the tournament have now been ironed out. That said, be aware that problems may flare up very quickly if protestors choose to march and get violent.
A reminder of previous advice: take a photo of your tickets so if they get stolen, you can show them to security and the thieves can be arrested in the stadium.
Warnings Issued in Africa as Threat of World Cup Attacks Increases Across the ContinentJune 13, 2014 in Africa, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda
As the FIFA World Cup football tournament kicks off in Brazil, security warnings have been issued for a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. UK officials have also issued warnings for Djibouti, stating that they have credible intelligence that al-Shabaab insurgents may be planning to carry out further terrorist attacks against targets that include “Western interests.”
East African nations are currently on high alert over fears that Somalia’s al-Shabaab may launch attacks on World Cup screenings over the next month. Previous attacks throughout the region have targeted places where football matches are being viewed. Crowded areas, including hotels, restaurants and bars and transport hubs are possible targets.
There is currently a high threat from terrorism throughout Ethiopia. Attacks could be indiscriminate and can occur at any moment, including in places that are frequented by foreigners. Previous terrorist attacks in the region have targeted places where football matches are being viewed.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya, mainly from al-Shabaab. The militant group has issued public threats against Kenya, due to the country’s military intervention in Somalia, and has recently stated that they are shifting the war and will now focus on Kenya. There have been a number of small-scale grenade, bomb and armed attacks in Nairobi, especially in the Eastleigh district, Mombasa and Northern Eastern Province. Methods of attacks have included shootings and bombings, including car bombings, as well as the use of grenades.
Kenyan police chief David Kimaiyo has promised “sufficient security measures” to ensure the safety of fans, however he has noted that bar owners must take their own precautions, stating, “owners of such social places must ensure that every person is thoroughly screened before entering their premises.” Attacks could be indiscriminate and will likely occur in places that are frequented by foreigners, including bars, sports bars, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, sporting events, supermarkets, shopping centres, beaches, buses, trains and transport hubs.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, whose country is a key contributor to African Union (AU) forces fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia, has cautioned fans “to be alert as they enjoy football, bearing in mind that the country is threatened.” A statement issued by Ugandan security forces has urged that people are screened prior to viewing soccer tournaments. The move is being enforced in a bid to avoid a repeat of attacks that occurred four years ago during the World Cup final, when al-Shabaab militants bombed two restaurants in the Ugandan capital, killing at least seventy-six people.
Officials in Britain warned earlier this week that al-Shabaab insurgents are planning further attacks in Djibouti, after last month’s suicide bomb attack on a crowded restaurant. According to a statement released by the UK Foreign Office, “there are credible reports that al-Shabaab plan, and have the capability, to attack targets in Djibouti, including western interests,” adding “there is a high threat from terrorism” in the port city. The statement further notes “Djibouti and Western interests within Djibouti may be seen as a legitimate target by al-Shabaab because of its support to the Somali government and its participation in the African Union peacekeeping mission.”
Djibouti has troops deployed in Somalia, as part of the African Union force that is battling the militant group, however the Horn of Africa nation’s port also serves as a key base for ships taking part in international anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. Last month, at least one person was killed and several others wounded when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a restaurant, the first attack in Djibouti to be claimed by al-Shabaab since the country joined the AU force in 2011. Days after the attack, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility and indicated that the attack was carried out in retaliation for Djibouti’s hosting of the United States’ largest military base in Africa, which is used for operations across the region, including drone strikes against Islamists in Somalia. France also has a base in Djibouti.
Nigerian officials have taken additional steps in order to prevent any World Cup related terrorist attacks from occurring. Soldiers in the capital of Yola, Adamawa state, have shut down all venues preparing to screen live World Cup matches in the hopes to stave off attacks. The Nigerian government has also advised resident of the capital city, Abuja, to avoid public viewing centres. Minister Bela Mohamed has issued a directive for Abuja, ordering high vigilance in places such as motor parks, restaurants, markets, supermarkets, shopping malls, banks, churches, mosques, hotels, viewing centres and hospital.
While over the past five years, the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have seen a number of deadly terrorist attacks, in recent months, Boko Haram militants have carried out an increasingly bold series of assaults, which has included the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in April. Since then, the militants have carried out a number of attacks on villages, including a recent car bomb that was set of at a centre in the settlement of Gavan, in the north-eastern state of Adamawa. O June 1, at least eighteen people watching a game on television were killed. A week before that incident, a suicide bomber set out for an open-air screening of a match in Nigeria’s central city of Jos. His car blew upon the way, killing three people. Such assaults on television viewing centres across Africa have raised fears that militant groups will target supporters gathering to cheer on the global football contest.
Brazil Country Travel AdvisoryJune 10, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Brazil – No travel restrictions
While there are currently no travel restrictions for Brazil, MS Risk advises all travellers to exercise a high degree of caution throughout the country. This is due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and other violence.
2014 World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014. Games will be played in a number of major cities across the country, including Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. If you are planning on travelling to Brazil during this period, MS Risk advises that you make your travel arrangements, including accommodation, transportation and purchase of sporting event tickets, well in advance using only genuine and reliable sources. You should note that English or French may not be readily available in Brazil.
Crimes, such as thefts, are known to increase around major sporting events in Brazil, with tourists often being the targets. MS Risk therefore advises all travellers to exercise extreme caution and to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. We advise that you use ATM’s in well-lit public areas or inside banks and avoid using them during the evening and night.
Over the past several weeks, demonstrations have occurred throughout Brazil. Further demonstrations leading up to, during and after the World Cup, may take place and may turn violent with minimal or no notice. MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid demonstrations, monitor the local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
- Fire Department: Dial 193
- Police: Dial 190
- Ambulance Services: Dial 192
In São Paulo, dial (11) 3120-4447 or (11) 3151-4167 to reach the tourist police. In Rio de Janeiro, dial (21) 2332-2924, (21) 2332-2511 or (21) 2332-5112 to reach the tourist police.
In the event of an emergency or an accident with injuries, dial 193 anywhere in Brazil. In the case of an accident without injuries, contact the military police at 190.
Risk Rating: Low – Medium Risk
Political and labour strikes and demonstrations are common throughout Brazil and could lead to violent incidents. During protests, roadblocks are sometimes used. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid large gatherings and keep informed of future demonstrations by monitoring local news reports.
Since 10 June 2013, demonstrations have been taking place throughout Brazil to protest against corruption and an increase in costs to basic services. Such demonstrations can occur anywhere and at any time. In São Paulo, protests can cause delays along the main road that leads to Guarulhos International Airport. Expect traffic and public transportation disruptions.
Risk Rating: High Risk
Crime levels throughout Brazil are high, including in most urban centres such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Recife and Salvador. However violence and crime can occur anywhere and often involve firearms or other weapons. In the past, victims have either been seriously injured or killed when resisting perpetrators. MS Risk advises all travellers to remain vigilant, particularly before and during the festive and carnival periods.
Robberies involving tourists occur regularly, even during daylight hours, and can sometimes be violent. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid isolated areas and unsupervised beaches with poor visibility from the sidewalk. We also advise that you ensure your hotel or living accommodation is completely secure.
Street crime, including pickpocketing, mugging and purse snatching, is common throughout Brazil, especially during public festivities such as the annual Carnival. Tourists are particularly targeted. MS Risk advises travellers to avoid wearing expensive jewellery, watches and clothing. Do not carry large amounts of money. Keep mobile phones and cameras out of sight and leave your passport and valuables in a safe place. It is recommended that you carry another form of photo ID, such as a driving license, with you at all times. If threatened, MS Risk advises that you be ready to hand over all valuables and that you do not attempt to resist attackers as they may be armed or under the influence of drugs.
There has been an increase in robberies at ATM’s. Some ATM’s have been fitted with anti theft devices, which apply pink coloured ink to the notes of an ATM that has been damaged or tampered with. Travellers should be aware that any pink coloured note will not be accepted in the market and automatically loses its value. If you withdraw cash at an ATM and it has any sort of pink marks, you are advised to speak to the bank straight away in order to get the note changed. If this occurs outside of bank hours, or not in a bank branch, you should get a bank statement from the ATM showing the withdrawal and take it with the marked note to a police station in order to attain a police report.
Bank and credit card fraud is common in Brazil, including card cloning from ATM’s. MS Risk advises all travellers to keep sight of your card at all times and to not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious.
Mobile phone cloning also occurs in Brazil. You are advised to take care of your handset at all times.
Kidnappings and carjacking’s occur throughout the country, particularly in larger cities. In past incidents, victims were usually picked up from the street and forced to withdraw funds from ATM’s. MS Risk therefore advises travellers to remain cautious with new acquaintances who offer friendship, hospitality or assistance.
Theft from cars is common and there have been cases of carjackings. When approaching your car, have the keys ready in order to make it easier to get into the car. When driving, keep the doors locked and windows closed and take particular care when stopping at a traffic light. In three or more lanes of traffic, consider using the middle lanes. Avoid deserted or poorly lit places. MS Risk advises all travellers to be aware of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night. The threat of personal attack is lower outside cities, however incidents can occur even at holiday destinations that appear to be relatively secure.
While rape and other sexual offences against tourists are rare, there have been attacks against both men and women, with some involving ‘date rape’ drugs. MS Risk advises travellers to purchase your own drinks and to keep them within sight at all times.
While police officials in Brazil have carried out crackdowns on crime throughout the country, this has led to retaliation attacks that have been carried out by criminal gangs. As a result, there is an increased chance of violence across the entire country, including in major cities. MS Risk advises travellers to remain vigilant at all times and to comply with security directives that have been imposed by local authorities.
Incidents of gang-related violence continue to pose a threat in large urban centres, where there is often a visible disparity in the levels of wealth. In the past, targets of gang-related violence have included police stations, buses, official buildings and businesses. Most tourist hubs and destinations have also been targeted. In urban centres, particularly in or near favelas, violent incidents and armed clashes have occurred between police forces and alleged criminals on a regular occurrence.
While additional security forces have been deployed throughout the country, future gang-related violence is likely to occur and could involve the use of weapons, including firearms, which are increasingly easy to obtain. MS Risk advises all travellers to exercise a high degree of caution at all time and to avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil. If you are caught trafficking, the penalties are severe and often involve long prison sentences in a Brazilian prison. The penalties for possession of drugs for personal use range from educational classes to community service.
Brazil has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. This is due to aggressive driving habits, a significant number of trucks on the road, reckless passing, excessive speeds, poorly marked lanes, construction, vehicles moving in the wrong direction on one-way streets, and poorly maintained roads.
MS Risk advises all travellers to avoid driving after dark and to keep doors locked and windows closed at all times. We also advise that you be careful when stopping on the side of any highway, both for traffic and for the potential of being a victim of crime.
When driving in large cities, MS Risk advises travellers to pay attention to your surroundings while waiting at traffic lights. It is common for motorists to treat red lights as stop signs between the hours of 10 PM and 6 PM in order to protectagainst hold-ups at intersections. Most cities will have a flashing yellow light, which indicates that drivers only need to yield.
Theft on buses and trams is common, especially at night. Violent incidents frequently occur in unofficial taxis, which are often present at airports. Registered taxis are clearly identified however they may look different in each city. To be safe, MS Risk advises that you purchase tickets from taxi offices at the airport’s arrival hall. In town, we advise that you use taxis from taxi stands only. Only use taxis to travel to and from airports. Local law requires the use of the taxi meter in order to determine the legal fare. Adding surcharges to a fare is illegal. Should taxi rates change, and their meters have not been adjusted, drivers may indicate these changes by showing you an authorized paper with the new rates. At night, it is safer to order a taxi by telephone then to stand on a street.