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Travel Warning: Sudan

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Sudan today.  It reads as follows:

Sudan

June 22, 2011

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Sudan. The Department of State recommends U.S. citizens avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, and avoid travel to the border areas between the northern and southern regions of Sudan, particularly the states of Upper Nile, Unity, Western Bar el Ghazai, Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and the Abyei Special Administrative District. This replaces the Travel Warning of January 7, 2011, to reflect the continued risk of violence in the Darfur region; the risk of armed conflict involving forces of the Government of Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and various militia groups in certain areas of Sudan; and the high risk of violent crime in Juba.In recent weeks there have been a number of armed clashes between forces loyal to the Government of Sudan and forces loyal to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the border areas between the northern and southern regions of Sudan. These clashes have led to a build-up of the military forces of both the Government of Sudan and the SPLA in the border area. Following fighting in Southern Kordofan state in May and June, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) evacuated non-essential personnel from its compound in Kadugli, the capital of that state. In addition to the fighting in the border areas, there continue to be frequent clashes between militia groups and SPLA forces in southern Sudan.

The threat of violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings, remains high in the Darfur region of Sudan, as the Government of Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime in that region. A number of foreign nationals, including a U.S. citizen, have been kidnapped and held for ransom by criminal groups operating in Darfur. Because of the risk involved in travel to Darfur, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum continues to prohibit travel by U.S. government personnel to Darfur without express authorization by the chief of mission.

The risk of violent crime is also high in Juba, in southern Sudan. Because of an increase in security-related incidents, including persons being pulled out of vehicles and attacked, the U.S. Consulate General in Juba recently moved up the beginning of its curfew period to better ensure the safety of U.S. government personnel in Juba. If you are affiliated with humanitarian relief or development efforts in Southern Sudan or Darfur, you should take prudent measures to reduce your exposure to violent crime and should adhere closely at all times to the security policies and procedures of your organization.

In January 2011, the people of southern Sudan voted in favor of separating from Sudan and forming an independent state; this separation is scheduled to take effect on July 9, 2011. The period following the effective date of separation may be marked by disruptions or long delays in government services in the south.

U.S. citizens are urged to carefully consider the risk of travel in other areas of Sudan. Because of the continued threat of terrorism, the U.S. Embassy continues to implement enhanced security measures for the protection of all U.S. government personnel assigned to Sudan. These measures include requiring U.S. government personnel to travel in government vehicles at all times, and to obtain advance permission for travel outside of Khartoum or Juba. In addition, the Department of State does not permit family members, under age 21, of U.S. government personnel to reside in Sudan.

The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum provides services to U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Sudan. However, our ability to provide services to U.S. citizens in emergency situations outside of the Khartoum and Juba areas is limited, and is dependent on security conditions.

You can stay in touch and get updates by checking the U.S. Embassy website, http://sudan.usembassy.gov. You can also get global updates at the website of the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, http://travel.state.gov, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and country specific information.

If you don’t have internet access, we have a toll-free call center for updates: 1-808-407-4747 in the U.S. and Canada or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

If you are going to live in or travel to Sudan despite this travel warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), found online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/. By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum or at the Consulate General in Juba.

The U.S. Embassy is located at U.S. Embassy Road, Kilo Ashara, Soba, Khartoum. U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information by contacting the Embassy consular section at ACSKhartoum@state.gov, or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website, http://sudan.usembassy.gov. In the event of an emergency involving a U.S. citizen, contact the Embassy by calling 0187-022-000 (from inside Sudan) or ( 249)187-022-000 (from outside Sudan), and ask to speak with the Embassy duty officer.

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Written by OSB

22/06/2011 at 16:34

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