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Travel Warning: South Sudan

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for South Sudan on December 22.  It reads as follows:

Republic of South Sudan

December 22, 2011

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to the Republic of South Sudan and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 12, 2011, updates information on security incidents, and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in the Republic of South Sudan.

The Republic of South Sudan separated from Sudan and became an independent nation on July 9, 2011. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to South Sudan and strongly recommends that you avoid all travel to the states in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan (Upper Nile, Unity, and Western Bar el Ghazai states in South Sudan; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan; and the Abyei Special Administrative District). In recent months, skirmishes have broken out between forces loyal to the Government of Sudan and forces loyal to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in this region, and there has been a build-up of military forces along both sides of the border. In addition to fighting on the ground, the Sudanese air force has bombed areas in the Unity and Upper Nile states.  You should exercise extreme caution in all areas of South Sudan. In addition to the fighting in the border region, there are at least seven different rebel militia forces that frequently engage in violent clashes with SPLA forces in various areas of South Sudan; these clashes can flare up with little warning.

The Government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers outside of the capital city of Juba.

The risk of violent crime is high in Juba. The U.S. Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. to better ensure the safety of its personnel. In addition to the curfew, the Embassy has implemented other measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles at all times at night, and to obtain advance permission for any travel outside of Juba. Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan.

If you are currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or anywhere in South Sudan, you should take prudent measures to reduce your exposure to violent crime, and should closely follow the security policies and procedures of your organization.

There are likely to be disruptions or long delays in services provided by the Government of South Sudan.

The U.S. Embassy in Juba provides limited services to U.S. citizens living or traveling in South Sudan, such as accepting applications for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. Other routine consular services are available through the consular sections of U.S. embassies in neighboring countries, such as the U.S. embassies in Khartoum, Sudan, or Nairobi, Kenya. The ability of consular staff at these embassies to render assistance to U.S. citizens in South Sudan in the event of an emergency is limited.

U.S. citizens can obtain global updates from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

If you are going to live in or travel to South Sudan despite this Travel Warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). 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 us 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 in South Sudan without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Juba by filling out and submitting a registration form.

U.S. citizens in South Sudan can obtain the latest security information by contacting the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan (e-mail address: ACSJuba@state.gov), or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website. In the event of an emergency, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba by calling 249-900-90-5107 (Zain) or 256-477-459-820 (GEMTEL) and ask to speak to the Embassy Duty Officer.

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