State Dept. warns U.S. citizens of risks of travel to Sudan - U.S. embassy in Khartoum has authorised voluntary evacuation of non-essential staff
Travel Warning: Sudan
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Sudan and recommends that American citizens defer all travel to Sudan due to uncertain security conditions following the expulsion of NGOs as well as harassment of humanitarian aid workers, employees of non-governmental organizations, and westerners in general. The Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum until further notice. This Travel Warning for Sudan replaces the Travel Warning issued on February 26, 2009, to note the Embassy's authorized departure status and the potential for violence in Sudan.
The government of Sudan recently expelled numerous aid groups from the country and senior government officials have publicly called humanitarian aid workers "spies." Officials from the Sudan Humanitarian Affairs Commission have seized the finances and assets of many of these organizations, as well personal property of aid workers, including passports and laptop computers.
Recent protests have featured sharp anti-western rhetoric. There is a continuing possibility that ongoing protests may encourage violent action against Europeans and Americans.
U.S. citizens residing in Sudan despite the Travel Warning should have their own contingency plans to depart the country independent of the Embassy. U.S. citizens should be prepared to leave Sudan in the event of an emergency, given the volatile political/security environment. The U.S. Embassy is committed to assisting U.S. citizens to the extent possible, but the Embassy's ability to assist Americans is limited, and dependant on the permissiveness of the security environment in Sudan.
On January 1, 2008, two American 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 all travel and modes of transportation to be used. A trial is ongoing.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Sudan, particularly in the Darfur area, where violence between Sudanese Government forces and various armed militias continues. Americans and Europeans have been victims of carjackings and armed robberies while traveling in Sudan. Land travel at night should be avoided.
Travelers are reminded that the U.S. Government has received information on terrorist threats aimed at American and European interests in Sudan. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or 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-American/European demonstrations periodically occur, mostly in the capital city of Khartoum.
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.
The Department of State urges American 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.> American citizens in Sudan should ensure they have enough water, food, and supplies in stock in the event of an emergency. The dynamic political situation may require the U.S. Embassy in Sudan to close for safety and security reasons without much advance notice. The Embassy will nevertheless endeavor to notify American citizens of any such closures via warden message, posted at http://sudan.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html.
U.S. citizens should note that the Embassy varies its operating hours without advance notice due to the dynamic political and security situation. Services for U.S. citizens are available by appointment only. Requests for an appointment can be made by e-mailing KhartoumConsular@state.gov. American citizens may request emergency services at any time, but the ability of the U.S. Embassy to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency is limited.
The U.S. Embassy is located at Sharia Ali Abdul Latif, Khartoum; tel. (249-183)774-700/1/2/3 (outside Sudan); tel (0183) 774-700/1/2/3 (inside Sudan). U.S. citizens may contact the consular section by phone or email 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 (249-183) 774-7000/1/2/3 and ask to be connected to the duty officer.
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. Safety and security 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).