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February 15-21, 2024 | Issue 7 - NORTHCOM/SOUTHCOM

Nicholas Novak, Giorgia Cito, Martina Sclaverano, Kyle Dillon

Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor


Date: February 15, 2024

Location: Haiti

Parties involved: Haiti; Haitian civilians; Haitian armed gangs; UN; World Food Programme (WFP); WFP representative in Haiti Jean-Martin Bauer; WFP Haiti communications director Tanya Birkbeck; NGOs in Haiti

The event: The UN WFP stated that increasing conflicts between armed gangs have displaced nearly 10,000 people from their homes. According to Bauer, the violence has “blocked cargo routes, restricted movement, and closed schools, forcing WFP to temporarily halt many activities across the country.”[2] WFP could not reach 56,000 people in Cite Soleil, many of whom are on the borderline of WFP's worst category of food insecurity. Birkbeck mentioned that the WFP has secured dry goods in its warehouses and they are attempting to deliver them.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The escalating armed gangs’ violence in Haiti will very likely exacerbate an already dire humanitarian crisis, likely hampering the efforts of international aid organizations such as the WFP to deliver emergency services and supplies. The WFP and other aid groups’ inability to access vulnerable populations will very likely jeopardize the immediate health and nutrition of Haitians and undermine the long-term recovery and development efforts. The restricted access to basic necessities, including food, drinking water, and medical supplies, will likely increase the vulnerability of these populations, leading to higher rates of malnutrition, and disease outbreaks. Children will likely be more at risk of suffering from malnutrition and interrupted education, very likely impacting their development and prospects.

  • Increased conflicts in the region will very likely force NGOs to take alternate routes to deliver aid, likely heightening the risk of gangs ambushing their convoys. Armed gangs will likely steal humanitarian aid for themselves, deepening the crisis for local civilians. There is a roughly even chance gangs will kidnap NGO aid workers for ransom, very likely forcing large NGOs to increase their security measures. Smaller NGOs with fewer resources will likely negotiate with local armed gangs to form safe supply routes for civilians.

  • Local civilians will likely resort to looting due to a lack of access to WFP services. Communities isolated by the gangs’ roadblocks will likely try to steal food and basic medical supplies from their neighbors. Local shops will very likely become targets of looting by civilians or armed gangs, who have a roughly even chance of reselling stolen food and supplies at higher prices due to their scarcity. There is a roughly even chance that civilians will loot WFP warehouses, and the gangs’ blocking of main routes will almost certainly disrupt a local black market of stolen goods, leading to stolen goods transportation via water.

Date: February 18, 2024

Location: Miguel Alemán Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena); armed civilians; Tamaulipas Security Spokesperson; US

The event: 12 “armed civilians”[4] suspected as cartel members ambushed a group of Sedena while on patrol. The Sedena killed all 12 gunmen, and the military reported no casualties. The Sedena conducted surveillance patrols in the region before the gunmen shot them with small arms. The army used helicopters and drones in their operation. Tamaulipas Security Spokesperson stated the army seized 12 long guns, magazines, and various calibers of ammunition. Tamaulipas is known to be a hotspot for drug-related violence and frequently witnesses battles over control of narcotics trafficking routes.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Sedena will almost certainly conduct frequent patrols of the Miguel Alemán area with increased security equipment. The Sedena will temporarily increase military personnel conducting surveillance patrols in this area and there is a roughly even chance that it will deploy drone reconnaissance daily in the next few weeks, likely working with US authorities to share intelligence and coordinate efforts to hinder drug cartel operations near the border. Sedena officers will likely patrol with combat gear and firearms to deter further attacks and to defend themselves. There is a roughly even chance that police helicopters in the area will be on high alert for the next few weeks in case of other sudden clashes requiring immediate Sedena response.

  • There is a roughly even chance the Sedena will look to enhance cooperation and information transparency with trusted civilians in the region to counter gun violence escalation. There is a roughly even chance that Mexican security forces will apply community outreach programs as a proactive approach to increase trust among the citizenry. There is a roughly even chance that civilians will avoid interacting with Mexican security forces to protect themselves from cartels and organized crime groups.

  • The success of Sedona’s operation against the ambush will likely affect the dynamics of drug trafficking and security policies in the area of Tamaulipas, leading cartels to reassess their operational tactics against military forces. There is a roughly even chance that the operation will temporarily decrease cartels’ confrontations or shift them towards covert methods, including surveillance technology to evade military patrols and take advantage of corruption to undermine security efforts. Cartels will likely seek to ally with local and international criminal organizations to diversify their operations and reduce reliance on direct confrontations.


[1] Haiti by Google Maps

[2] Haiti gang wars block aid routes for most vulnerable, U.N. agency says, Reuters, Feb 2024,

[3] Ibid

[4] Clash between elements of the Army and armed civilians leaves 12 dead in Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, Infobae, Feburary 2024, (Translated by Google)

[5] 12 Gunmen Killed In Clashes With Military In Mexico, Barron’s, February 2024,   



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