Monday, January 4, 2010

Travel Warnings

SOMALIA
December 31, 2009

"The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Somalia and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all travel to Somalia. This replaces the Travel Warning dated November 15 2008, to update information on security concerns.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Somalia, including northern Somalia. On September 17, 2009, terrorists launched a coordinated suicide-bomb attack against an African Union (AU) peacekeeping base, involving multiple car bombs against local and international targets. In another attack on December 3, 2009, suicide bombers killed three Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ministers during a graduation ceremony for Banadir University medical students in Mogadishu. There is no U.S. Embassy or other U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia. Consequently, the U.S. Government is not in a position to assist or effectively provide services to U.S. citizens in Somalia.

Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent and capability to attack air operations at Mogadishu International Airport. Kidnapping, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and other violent incidents and threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners can occur in many regions. Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting flares up with little or no warning. Unpredictable armed conflicts among rival militias are prevalent in southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu. This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Somali nationals and the displacement of nearly one million people.

The Sanaag and Sool Regions in eastern Somaliland, bordering on Puntland (northeastern Somalia), are particularly unsafe due to ongoing border disputes and inter-clan fighting. Lines of control in Mogadishu are unclear and frequently shift, making movement within Mogadishu extremely hazardous. There also have been several fatal attacks and violent kidnappings against international relief workers throughout Somalia, Somaliland, and Puntland. In July 2009, a U.S. relief worker was kidnapped from a Kenyan border town and held in Somalia for over two months before being released.

U.S. citizens are urged to use extreme caution when sailing near the coast of Somalia. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure by pirates and having their crews held for ransom in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia. If transit around the Horn of Africa is necessary, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys, and maintain good communications contact at all times.

U.S. citizens who travel to Somalia despite this Travel Warning are urged to register through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov and obtain updated information on travel and security from the U.S. Embassies in neighboring countries. Travelers to the self-declared "Republic of Somaliland" should register with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, and travelers to Puntland or southern Somalia should register with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is located at Plateau du Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti City; telephone (253) 35-39-95; after-hours telephone number (253) 35-13-43. The mailing address is Ambassade Americaine, B.P. 185, Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti, and their workweek is Sunday through Thursday. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (254)(20) 363-6000; after-hours emergencies (254)(20) 363-6170. The mailing address is P.O. Box 606 Village Market 00621, Nairobi, Kenya.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Somalia and the Worldwide Caution, which are located on the Department's internet website at http://travel.state.gov. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444."

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_933.html

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SUDAN
December 31, 2009

"1. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Sudan, and recommends that all travel to Sudan be deferred due to uncertain security conditions and the possibility of violence and harassment targeting westerners. This Travel Warning for Sudan updates and replaces the Travel Warning issued on April 8, 2009.

2. U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Sudan despite the Travel Warning should maintain contingency plans to depart Sudan in the event of an emergency. The U.S. Embassy is committed to assisting U.S. citizens to the extent possible, but the Embassy’s ability to assist is limited, and dependent on the permissiveness of the security environment in Sudan. The ability of the Embassy to provide assistance to U.S. citizens is particularly limited in Southern Sudan and in Darfur.

3. On January 1, 2008, two U.S. Embassy employees were assassinated while traveling in their vehicle in Khartoum. In May 2008, the city of Omdurman, adjacent to Khartoum, was attacked by armed militias. The Embassy has implemented heightened security measures to protect Embassy personnel in Sudan, which include obtaining advance permission for travel outside of Khartoum and requiring transportation in Embassy-operated vehicles at all times.

4. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Sudan, particularly in the Darfur area, where outbreaks of violence between Sudanese government forces and various armed militias continue. U.S. citizens and Europeans have been victims of kidnappings, carjackings, and armed robberies while traveling in Sudan. There have been several kidnappings of European NGO workers and Chinese oil workers over the past eighteen months. Land travel at night should be avoided.

5. Travelers are reminded that the U.S. Government has received information on terrorist threats against U.S. and European interests in Sudan. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, and kidnappings. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and locations where expatriates are known to congregate, and commercial operations associated with U.S. or European interests. Anti-U.S./European demonstrations occur periodically, mostly in the capital city of Khartoum.

6. Travel anywhere in Sudan, including Khartoum and the adjacent town of Omdurman, is potentially dangerous. Militia forces have instigated sporadic violence and have attacked locations in Southern Sudan. Threats have been made against foreigners working in the oil industry in Upper Nile state.

7. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas, to review emergency procedures and contingency plans, and to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. U.S. citizens in Sudan should ensure they have sufficient water, food, and supplies on hand in the event of an emergency. The dynamic political situation may require the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum or the U.S. Consulate General in Juba to close for safety and security reasons, without advance notice. The Embassy will seek to notify U.S. citizens of such closures via warden message, which are posted at http://sudan.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html.

8. U.S. citizens should note that the Embassy may vary its operating hours without advance notice due to changes in the political and security situation. Services for U.S. citizens are available by appointment only. Requests for an appointment may be made by e-mailing KhartoumConsular@state.gov, or by clicking on the link found on the following web page: http://sudan.usembassy.gov/service.html. U.S. citizens may request emergency services at any time by calling the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, but the ability of the U.S. Embassy or the Consulate General in Juba to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency is limited.

9. The U.S. Embassy is located at Sharia Ali Abdul Latif, Khartoum; tel. (249) 1-8701-6000. U.S. citizens may contact the consular section by phone or by email at KhartoumConsular@state.gov. Additional information and U.S. Embassy warden messages are available on our website, http://sudan.usembassy.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call 091-253-4200 and ask to be connected to the embassy duty officer.

10. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Sudan and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department’s Internet website at http://travel.state.gov. The latest safety and security information is also available toll-free at 1-888-407-4747 from within the United States and Canada, or at regular toll rates at 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the United States and Canada, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

11. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Sudan are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s secure travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov."

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_934.html

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