According to local media reports in Mali, on 4 February 2021 , c.a. 10 Malian soldiers were killed when an insurgency group stormed their camp, i.e. the Malian Armed Forces detatchment in the village of Boni, Mopti region. While in Mozambique's remote north the month of February saw a decrease in violent and continuous islamist attacks. In mid February, French President Emmanuel Macron met, albeit virtually, with a group of five African allies, i.e., G5 Sahel (G5), in an effort to discuss the increasing violent insurgency across the Sahel region. The G5 is comprised of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. On February 17, Nigerian schoolchildren were kidnapped by gunmen as the West African country keeps sinking deeper into instability and insecurity. Reportedly, the gunmen, wearing military uniforms, abucted c.a. 40 people in Kagara, Niger, one student was shot. These attacks keep steadily increasing in the region.
In the latest Covid-19 developments, South-Africa announced it would re-open 20 of its border crossings on Monday, 16 February, which have been shut for a month in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
On February 12, ExecutiveGov reported that the U.S. Navy had set-up an organization within Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division. The mission of the organization is to evaluate explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment in order to identify gaps in system capability.
On February 15, Forbes reported that new Covid-19 variants were detected in the U.S. Scientists reported seven new strains, these strains appear to be similar to the U.K and South African ones. Meaning, all are highly contagious since the strains share a similar genetic mutation to the UK and South African varients.
The U.S. hit another grim milestone on Sunday, 21 February as coronavirus death toll is approaching 500,000. In other developments, the U.S vaccine rollouts have started effectively, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting on Sunday, 21 February that c.a., 43.6 million people have already received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, this includes the 18.9 million who have also received their second jab, meaning they are fully vaccinated.
In South America, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela started their vaccine rollouts, on February 16 and 18, respectively. The Dominican Republic started the rollout with AstraZeneca while Venezuela started with Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine. The Pan-American Health Organization reported that c.a., 1.4 million vaccines will be sent to Venezuela by March via the UN-backed COVAX facility. Leaving, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Honduras and Uruguay the only nations in South America yet to administer their first jabs.
On 11 February, five UN security guards, carrying out an UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA), died in a terror attack in Kabul. This attack was condemned by the International Community at large. Furthermore, Afghanistan's Intelligence personnel have been reported arresting several terrorists in the last weeks of February in the country's southern province of Kandahar. Additionally, on 22 February , four women, working for an NGO, were reported shot by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan, according to Xinhua News. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack
On 22 February, a huge demonstration broke out against the military coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar on 1 February, taking control over the country's administrative, legislative and judicial branch. Nikkei Asia also reported that two people were killed, 20 injured and 30 detained, in Mandalay, Myanmar when police opened fire to break out protests against the military coup on 20 February. The military junta had also removed the Central Bank Chief earlier in the month, alarming global financiers.
In Covid-19 related news, China refused to hand over key data to the World Health Organization team who have been onsite investigating the origins of the pandemic for several weeks. Meaning it is highly unlikely that the origins of the virus will ever be uncovered. On a more positive note, vaccine rollout developments in the Asia Pacific have finally taken up some speed. Japan's Health Ministry officially approved Pfizer-vaccine for use, Singapore started aministrating shots for seniors on 22 February and Australia started vaccine rollouts as well, while South Korea will begin administrating AstraZeneca on 26 February. Thailand is set to kick-off the vaccination campaign with Sinovac on 24 February. Finally, Hong Kong is reported urging its citizens to get early vaccinations as top Hong Kong officials received their first jabs of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine on 22 February, developed by PRC.
On 12 February NPR reported that that Danish and German authorities had detained 14 people within a time-lapse of one-week.These individuals were caught in a counter-terrorism operation, and were suspected of planning one-or-more terrorist attacks, according to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service.
On 10 February, Azerbaijani sappers were awarded with international certificates after completing a 10-day demining course in Baku. The certificates were presented by Azerbaijani Major General Anar Karimov and Turkish experts. Additionally, an official of the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry stated that that the demining equipment supplied by Turkey will be used on liberated territories, i.e., territories liberated from Armenia's occupation during the 44-day war in 2020. Progress is being made, as demining is a hot-topic in Azerbaijan as on 14 February, a meeting of the working group on clearing of mines and unexploded ordnance of the Interdepartmental Center under the Coordination Headquarters, took place; issues related to the demining process in liberated lands was up for discussion.
On 11 February, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service reported that The 702d Ordnance Company, assigned to the explosive ordnance team for Regional Command-East, Kosovo Force, traveled to Dakovica/Gjakovë to witness the Mine Action Training Kosovo school conduct their range day qualifications.
On 13 February, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Russian specialists were continuing their demining efforts in the territory of Artsakh. The operation started in late 2020 and reportedly the engineering units of the Russian peacekeeping forces have "cleared 1358.3 hectares of territories, 425 km of roads, 1292 housing construction, including 29 socially significant objects, about 24.3 thousand explosive objects have been neutralized, ” the ministry said in a statement (As stated by the Ministry of Defense and reported by Aysor News).
In vaccine rollout news , EU is still struggling at large, due to complications within the supply sector. The UK is doing well, with 15 million people vaccinated. However, some European countries are yet to administer a single shot, namely Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to the fact that they are still waiting for their first shipments to arrive.
10 February, the demining process finally began in Libya, as announced by the Libyan Joint Military Committee 5 + 5 on 7 February. In continuation, on 11 February 2021, Libya Herald reported that mine and war remnants clearance had begun on the coastal road of Sirte Misrata, in Libya. This development was highly anticipated since the road has been closed for a year, 2019-2020, due to the Khalifa Hafter war on Tripoli.
On 14 February 2021, France24 reported that dozens were killed in clashes in Yemen, as Houthi rebels continue to target the government's last stronghold. The Houthi rebels also offerred to halt attacks on Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi-led coalition would halt airstrikes. This offer came as the militants have accelerated their drone and ballastic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia earlier in February. In the most recent developments, the UN is very alarmed at military escalation in Yemen's Marib, since the advancement will put the lives of millions of civilians at risk.
On 21 February, APnews reported that Fathi Bashagha's, the minister of interior of Libya, convoy came under fire. Mr. Bashagha's guards proceeded to kill one and arrest the other two gunmen. This attack was described as an attempted assassination of Mr. Bashagha by the Interior Ministry.
In the latest Covid-19 developments, Bahrain and Kuwait are still at the peak of their infection curve. While Israel has become the world's fastest country to get their vaccination rollouts working effectively, administering at least one dose to over half of its 9.3 million people, and two doses to 1/3 in less than two months. On 21 February, Gaza received UAE shipment of Sputnik V, all 20, 000 doses of them. The vaccination campaign is set to rollout on 22 February with health workers receiving the first jabs.
In the very beginning of February, a volatile wildfire in Perth caused damage to several homes and fields, this development also happened to take place in parallel to the lockdown imposed on the city a few days earlier, as first reported in Gulf News.
In other Covid-19 vaccine developments , Australia started its vaccine rollouts on Monday, 22 February 2021. They will start the initial jabs with Pfizer 's corona vaccine as the first batch arrived in to the country a week prior to the commencement of the vaccine rollouts. Australia has also officially approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for public use.
In New Zealand, Auckland entered into a new lockdown on 14 February 2021, as three local cases, all UK variant, were reported. However, Prime Minister Arden announced on Tuesday, 16 February that the short-lived lockdown was to be lifted at midnight, since the transmission was not widespread.