Travel

Control Risks

You can contact the following Alarm Centres:

Americas: (1) (215) 942 8226
Asia & the Pacific: (65) 6338 7800
Europe & Africa: (44) (20) 8762 8008
Paris, France: (33) 155 633 155

Adviced provided in these alerts represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd. Adice in these alerts does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

2011 AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Groups Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction (other than for authorised internal purposes) is prohibited except with the prior written consent of the copyright owners.

Travel Alerts

 

17 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Lashkar Gah: Militant attack ongoing near governor’s compound; avoid vicinity

At least ten people are reported to have been killed so far in an ongoing militant attack on a branch of a local bank in the city of Lashkar Gah (Helmand province) on 17 December. The attack on the bank, which is located near the Governor’s compound, reportedly began at around 11.30 (local time) when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside the bank. Following this, a number of gunmen entered the bank and took several people hostage. A gunfight is currently ongoing between the security forces and the attackers, who remain in the bank. Details of the incident are still emerging.

Travel advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Avoid the vicinity of the bank until the situation stabilises.
  • Adhere to instructions issued by security personnel and liaise with local security providers for related guidance.
  • Monitor our alerts for related updates.

 

16 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Peshawar: Avoid vicinity of ongoing fatal militant attack targeting public school on Warsak Road

At least 126 people on 16 December have been killed and around 120 others injured in an ongoing militant attack at an army-run public school on Warsak Road in Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province). Around six militants in military uniforms reportedly entered the school, opened fire and detonated explosives, and took students and teachers hostage. Two assailants are currently engaged in a shoot-out with the security forces, who have closed Warsak Road and are conducting operations to clear the school and rescue the hostages.Shops and markets across the city have closed, and security cordons are reportedly causing traffic congestion in several areas. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, the Pakistani Taliban) have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to army operations against the group in North Waziristan (Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA).

Travel Advice

  • Minimise movement within Peshawar until the situation has been fully contained. Avoid all movement in the vicinity of the attack, and stand fast if you are nearby.
  • Peshawar is an EXTREME travel security risk location where we recommend against all but essential travel. Any travel conducted to the city must be with security support.
  • If you must conduct essential movement, be prepared for significant disruption due to security force cordons and checks, including along the Grand Trunk Road through the city and within the Cantonment. Carry relevant identification and No Objection Certificates. Thorough and robust journey management planning is essential.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Pakistan for further updates. Be prepared to adjust plans with minimal notice as a result of the developing security situation.

 

15 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Australia: Sydney: Exclusion zone remains in place around Martin Place despite end of hostage situation (Revised 23.30 GMT)

A security exclusion zone remains in place at Martin Place in Sydney (New South Wales state, see map) on 16 December, while investigations continue into a hostage situation at a café that ended overnight. The police at around 02.00 (local time) stormed the café, using stun grenades and live ammunition to secure the release of 17 hostages who had been held there since 09.45 on the previous day. The gunman was killed and two hostages have since been confirmed dead.Ferry, Light Rail and trains are all running as normal, though trains are not stopping at Martin Place station, which remains closed. Buses through the Central Business District (CBD) are being diverted to avoid the exclusion zone of Elizabeth, Hunter, Macquarie and King streets.

 

Travel Briefing

Members should continue to avoid the vicinity of the security exclusion zone and follow all directives by the police; the area is expected to remain cordoned off in the coming hours while investigations and clean-up operations are under way. Travellers using public transport that normally passes through the exclusion zone should factor in additional time for journeys to/from the CBD.

The hostage taker has been identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian-born self-proclaimed Muslim cleric with a criminal history, who was facing charges of sexual assault and accessory to murder. It is premature to draw conclusions as to the motive behind the incident, though the authorities have stated that it was not an attack with links to a terrorist group. However, Monis is likely to have been inspired by the ideology of Islamist extremists. The ongoing risks from Islamist extremism in Australia remain unchanged; our travel risk rating is LOW.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Avoid the vicinity of the security exclusion zone and follow all police directives.
  • Travellers using public transport that normally passes through the exclusion zone should factor in additional time for journeys to/from the CBD.
  • Report any suspicious packages or suspect behaviour to the authorities.
  • Monitor the NSW live traffic updates, the NSW transport website, and our travel security alerts on Australia for further updates.

 

15 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Australia: Sydney: Avoid central business district amid ongoing hostage situation at Martin Place (Revised 03.42 GMT)

Members in Sydney (New South Wales state) should continue to avoid the Central Business District (CBD) due to an ongoing security situation at Martin Place. Reports indicate that a gunman has taken as many as 50 people hostage at a café located near Martin Place station. The police have allowed workers to return to the Sydney Opera House; the building was evacuated earlier in the day following the discovery of a suspicious package. However, the area should continue to be avoided as a security precaution.Roads in the vicinity of Martin Place are closed (see map). Additionally, all city-bound traffic from the Harbour Bridge is being diverted to the Western Distributor; there is no access to the Cahill Expressway, Harbour Street or York Street. Similarly, motorists travelling from Sydney International Airport (SYD) will be unable to access the Cahill Expressway or Macquarie Street; they will be diverted from the Eastern Distributor to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, which remains open.Buses entering/exiting the city are being diverted; they are terminating at the Queen Victoria Building, Hyde Park, Central station and North Sydney station. Trains between Central and Bondi Junction stations have resumed, but are not stopping at Martin Place station. The airspace over Sydney has not been closed; flights to and from Sydney Airport (SYD) are currently operating on schedule, though some are being rerouted to avoid airspace over the CBD.

 

Travel Briefing

The situation is fluid and further security incidents or alerts are possible in the coming hours. It should be anticipated that there will be further false alarms associated with this incident. These incidents should be treated seriously and people should follow the advice of the authorities until advised otherwise.

Members should avoid the CBD while the situation is ongoing. The police have advised people in offices in parts of Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie Streets to remain in the buildings and away from windows. Where practical and unless directed otherwise by the police, those in offices located outside the security exclusion zone should consider releasing staff ahead of the afternoon peak; the level of disruption will be considerable during afternoon peak-hour due to changed public transport and traffic conditions.

Earlier in the day, a black flag – allegedly the Shahada flag – was held up by hostages in the window of the Martin Place café. There are indications that the incident is linked to Islamic extremism, though it is premature to draw further conclusions. While apparently unrelated, the developments come after the police arrested two men in western Sydney earlier on 15 December on suspected terror-related offences; security raids have also reportedly taken place throughout the day in Lakemba, nine miles (15km) south-west of the CBD.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Do not enter the CBD while the situation is ongoing.
  • Staff with offices located in the exclusion zone – parts of Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie Streets – should remain in the buildings and away from windows and await direction from the police. Where practical and unless directed otherwise by the police, those in offices located outside the exclusion zone are advised to make their way home, widely avoiding the above-mentioned streets.
  • Maintain heightened awareness and report any suspect packages or suspicious behaviour to the authorities.
  • Monitor the NSW live traffic updates, the NSW transport website and our travel security alerts on Australia for further updates.

 

14 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Haiti: Urban centres: Minimise movement due to likelihood of further protests demanding president’s resignation (Revised 14 Dec)

Heightened security measures should be expected in the capital Port-au-Prince and other urban centres following violent protests on 13 December, and members in these areas should minimise movement until the situation stabilises. The security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrators calling for the resignation of President Michel Martelly; one person was reportedly killed near the presidential palace in the capital, though the circumstances of the incident are unclear.Related rallies were also reported on the day in Gonaives (Artibonite department) and Cap-Haitien (Nord department). The protests came after an official body set up in a bid to break the country’s political deadlock recommended the dismissal of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, along with the head of the Supreme Court and the country’s electoral commission. Lamothe subsequently announced that he and his administration were resigning, but protesters continue to demand that Martelly follow suit.Travel Briefing

While Lamothe’s announcement should mitigate the risk of a significant escalation in the immediate term, further disruptive protests in the capital and other urban centres should be anticipated if Martelly does not step down. Such gatherings are most likely to focus on government and other official buildings, including the presidential palace.

The security forces are liable to use tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators, who are themselves often armed. Travellers should liaise with local contacts for information on further protests, plan essential journeys avoiding known flashpoints and march routes, and vacate an area at the first sign that protesters and/or the security forces are beginning to gather. Roadblocks are often erected during demonstrations and members should allow extra time for the completion of essential overland journeys.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Minimise movement while protests are ongoing. In the event of unrest, stand fast in a secure location until the situation stabilises. Be prepared to stand fast for at least 96 hours.
  • Avoid the vicinity of government buildings and all protest locations to mitigate the risk of exposure to any incidental violence that may occur.
  • Vacate the area immediately if a large crowd or concentration of the security forces begins to develop. In the event of violence occurring, return to your accommodation or secure location as soon as it is safe to do so, and stand fast until the situation normalises.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Haiti to remain abreast of the situation as it develops.

 

11 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Jos: Expect heightened security, potential communal unrest following fatal twin explosions (Revised 20.58 GMT)At least 31 people on 11 December were killed in two explosions in the Terminus area of Jos, the capital of Plateau state. The blasts reportedly occurred shortly after 18.00 (local time) at a food stall and a nearby marketplace.Travellers should expect heightened security and associated travel disruption in the Terminus area as the authorities conduct investigations, while the attacks may prompt outbreaks of communal unrest in the short term. The incident underscores the need to avoid non-essential travel to Plateau state.

Travel Briefing

Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks, it is likely that the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which was blamed for lethal twin bombings in Jos in May, was involved. The persistent risk posed by militancy across northern and central Nigeria contributes to the volatile travel security environment in Plateau. Boko Haram in recent months has increasingly focused on crowded public areas such as markets and transport hubs; members undertaking essential travel to Plateau should minimise time spent in the vicinity of possible militant targets.

There is also the potential for the latest incident to trigger communal violence in the state, given the existing tension between Muslim and Christian communities. As part of the ‘Middle Belt’ region of Nigeria, which bisects the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south, Plateau is prone to bouts of communal unrest. The latest bombings could prompt disturbances, including reprisal attacks against Muslim communities in and around Jos, As such, travellers should monitor developments closely, adhere to all security force directives and leave an area immediately at the first sign of unrest, or that protesters and/or security force personnel are beginning to gather.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Plateau state should be for essential purposes only, undertaken with security support and after seeking itinerary-specific advice.
  • Continue to avoid the vicinity of the explosions and expect travel disruption in the surrounding area. Anticipate heightened security in Jos in the coming days as the security forces conduct investigations; allow additional time to complete journeys and comply with security force instructions. Carry relevant identification documents to ease passage through security checkpoints.
  • Stay abreast of developments related to communal violence. If a large crowd of protesters and/or security force personnel begins to gather, relocate to a safe location until the situation stabilises.
  • There is a credible risk of attacks by Islamist militants on government and security force personnel and infrastructure, educational institutions, places of worship and crowded public places such as transport hubs across northern and central Nigeria. Minimise time spent in the vicinity of possible targets and remain alert to your surroundings at all times.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Nigeria for further updates.

 

11 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Avoid vicinity of Lycée Esteqlal school following suspected suicide bombing

Reports indicate that at least one person has been killed and around 15 others injured in a suspected suicide bombing on the evening of 11 December at the Lycée Esteqlal school compound in the capital Kabul; the compound also houses the French Cultural Centre. The explosion reportedly occurred during a theatrical event.Travel Advice

  • Account for staff.
  • Avoid/minimise movement in the vicinity of the site of the attack and surrounding areas until the situation becomes clearer. Liaise with your security provider regarding the incident and feasibility of movement.
  • Anticipate increased stop-checks as the security forces conduct investigations; allow additional travel time and carry personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for updates.

 

10 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Kano city: Avoid vicinity of explosion near Kantin Kwari marketAn explosion at around 15.30 (local time) on 10 December was reported near Kantin Kwari market in Kano (Kano state). There were no immediate reports of casualties, though details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of the explosion until the situation clarifies.
  • Expect disruption in the area as first responders arrive; plan journeys bypassing the site and expect road closures in the surrounding area. Carry relevant identification documents to ease passage through security checkpoints.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Nigeria for further updates.

 

6 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit makes landfall in Eastern Samar; defer non-essential travel to heavily affected areas (Revised 17.06 GMT)

Members should defer non-essential travel to destinations likely to be heavily affected by Typhoon Hagupit (known locally as Ruby), which made landfall at around 21.15 (local time) on 6 December in Dolores (Eastern Samar province). Significant disruption caused by heavy rain, strong winds and floods is likely in Visayas and Luzon islands in the coming days due to the passage of Hagupit, which has weakened slightly. The storm is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by the evening of 9 December.According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services ( PAGASA), the weather system is expected to make at least five more landfalls at the following locations until 8 December:7 December

8 December

The PAGASA has issued Public Storm Warning Signals (PSWS) for the following areas:

  • PSWS 3 (wind speeds of up to 115 miles per hour (185kph); see areas in red on the map): Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar (all Visayas), Albay, Burias Island, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon and Ticao Island (all Luzon).
  • PSWS 2 (wind speeds of up to 62 miles per hour (100kph); areas in yellow on the map): Camarines Sur, Romblon (both Luzon), Aklan, Bantayan Island, Capiz, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Leyte and Southern Leyte (all Visayas).
  • PSWS 1 (wind speeds of up to 32 mph (60kph): Batangas, Camarines Norte, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro and southern Quezon (all Luzon), Antique, Bohol, Guimaras, Iloilo, northern Negros, rest of Cebu (all Visayas), Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island and Dinagat Province (all Mindanao).

Reports indicate that very heavy rain continues to fall in Dolores, causing power outages and disruption to telephone networks in the town. Domestic flights from Manila to multiple destinations have been disrupted due to the storm and airlines have cancelled more than 150 flights to Visayas and Mindanao. Calbayog (CYP, Calbayog City, Samar), Catarman (CRM, Northern Samar) and Daniel Z. Romualdez (TAC, Tacloban City, Leyte) airports in Eastern Visayas, as wells as Legazpi (LGP, Legazpi City, Albay), Moises R Espinosa (MBT, Masbate) and Naga (WNP, Naga City, Camarines Sur) airports in southern Luzon, remain closed due to poor weather conditions.

In addition, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has issued evacuation orders for parts of the following provinces: Aklan, Albay, Antique, Biliran, Bohol, Capiz, Catanduanes, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Quezon, Samar, Siquijor, Sorsogon, Southern Leyte, Surigao Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur.

Travel Briefing

The trajectory and intensity of tropical storms are difficult to predict and may change abruptly. Members should avoid all travel to areas where evacuation orders are in place (consult the NDRRMC website for specific locations), and defer non-essential journeys to other areas likely to be heavily affected by the storm (see shaded areas on the map).

 

Hagupit’s passage is likely to disrupt operations at other airports near the storm’s trajectory, including Ormoc Airport (OMC, Leyte) and Surigao Airport (SUG, Surigao del Norte). Road travel may also be hindered by flooded roads and malfunctioning traffic lights, while landslides triggered by heavy rainfall could render roads impassable in mountainous and coastal areas. If road travel during Hagupit’s passage is essential, members should ensure that routes are clear before setting out.

Essential services such as power and telecommunications may also be subject to outages during Hagupit’s passage. However, business-class hotels and offices in city centres are unlikely to be severely affected by blackouts, as they usually have back-up generators.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Monitor the PAGASA website for the latest details of the typhoon’s trajectory and for the issuing of warnings; be prepared to adjust itineraries accordingly.
  • Defer all travel to locations where the authorities have ordered evacuations.
  • Defer non-essential travel to other destinations that are likely to be heavily affected by the typhoon. If nonetheless intending to travel, reconfirm flight, ferry and other transport bookings with the relevant service providers. We do not hold specific information on flights and other transport services.
  • Travellers in affected areas should follow all directives from emergency and security personnel, including regarding evacuation. If caught in the path of the typhoon, identify the nearest building with a strong structure, take shelter in the centre of the building, away from glass or ceramics that may harm you if damaged. Ensure you have essential supplies at hand. Reconfirm your emergency and communication procedures.
  • Disruption to essential services, such as electricity supply, is possible due to heavy rainfall and strong winds. Charge all communication devices nonetheless and, where feasible, keep extra batteries for back-up.

 

3 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Somalia: Mogadishu: Explosion reported outside airport entranceAn explosion has reportedly taken place on 3 December outside the entrance of the capital Mogadishu’s Aden-Adde International Airport (MGQ). It is unclear if there were any casualties; details of the incident are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Anticipate heightened security, including checkpoints, around the Mogadishu airport area following the blast.
  • Travellers in Mogadishu should strictly avoid the vicinity of the blast, and liaise with their security provider on the viability of movement in the area in the coming hours.
  • Those intending to use the airport once the situation has stabilised should liaise with their airline for any impact on flight itineraries.

 

3 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Yemen: Sanaa: Car bomb explodes outside Iranian ambassador’s residence in Hadda area

A suspected car bomb reportedly exploded outside the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Hadda area of the capital Sanaa on 3 December. Reports indicate that the security forces have closed off roads leading to the site of the explosion. Several buildings nearby have been damaged. Details of the incident are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Travellers in Haddah should strictly avoid the vicinity of the blast site, and liaise with their security provider on the viability of movement in area in the coming hours
  • Anticipate heightened security, including Houthi-run checkpoints and militia movements, around the Haddah area.
  • We advise against all travel to the country, with the exception of the capital Sanaa, where journeys remain possible with stringent security precautions and with fully co-ordinated journey-management plans.

 

1 Dec 2014

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Damaturu: Minimise movement due to ongoing attack by suspected militants

Reports on 1 December indicated that suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamist militant group launched a significant attack in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, at around 04.45 (local time). The heaviest fighting has been reported in the city’s Gujba Road area. Explosions and gunfire have been heard and the attack appears to be ongoing.The militants apparently began their assault by attacking Yobe State University, although attacks on other government buildings have also been reported. Details of the incident are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Our current advice is to avoid all travel to Yobe state; any travellers in the state should be accounted for.
  • Avoid the vicinity of the attack. Minimise movement in Damaturu until the situation clarifies.
  • Anticipate increased security in the aftermath of the incident and monitor our travel security alerts for information on related developments.

 

28 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Kano: Avoid vicinity of central mosque following explosionAn explosion occurred on 28 November at the central mosque located near the Emir’s palace in the city of Kano (Kano state). The cause of the blast is unclear; details of the incident are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Contact your line manager to communicate your position.
  • Minimise movement until the situation stabilises. For essential journeys, circumvent the affected areas.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Nigeria for related developments.

 

27 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Suicide attack targeting embassy vehicle underscores significant travel security risksA suicide motorcycle bombing targeted a British embassy vehicle as it was travelling along Jalalabad Road in the capital Kabul at around 10.25 (local time) on 27 November. Initial reports indicate that the attack, which took place in the Yakatoot area (Police District 9), killed at least five people, including one British national, and injured around 35 other people; details are still emerging. A Taliban spokesman said that the group was responsible for the attack.The attack underlines that road movement in Kabul should only be conducted with comprehensive journey management planning; we recommend the use of low-profile armoured vehicles and security support. Time spent outside secure premises and around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit, should routinely be minimised.Travel BriefingThe attack comes after recent warnings by the authorities that militants were planning to use vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices to target foreign vehicles in the vicinity of Kabul International Airport (KBL). However, there are also persistent, direct risks to foreign nationals from militant attacks in the capital; travellers are most vulnerable when moving between accommodation, workplaces and meetings. Local sources as well as precedents indicate that the areas around Massoud Circle and Airport Circle are higher-risk locations (see map). Additionally, major routes into and through the city, such as the Airport and Jalalabad roads, represent particularly attractive targets for militant attack given their heavy usage by security force, government and international community convoys.Travel Advice SummaryTravellers and expatriates

  • Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement in Kabul. Vehicles should be low-profile – without logos – and with Afghan licence plates.
  • Movement should only be conducted with comprehensive journey management planning and preferably with professional security support.
  • Routinely minimise movement outside secure premises and minimise the time spent around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit.
  • Carry reliable communication at all times; we recommend having one local telephone and an international phone with roaming enabled. Be sure of who to call in case of an emergency or incident.

For managers

  • The requirement for short-duration business trips to the country should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should be strictly for essential purposes only.
  • Managers should maintain good lines of communication with all staff, including expatriate employees as well as short-term travellers, and be able to account for them in the case of a security incident.

 

25 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Libya: Tripoli: Fresh airstrikes reported in vicinity of Mitiga International Airport; continue to defer travel to cityReports indicate that fresh airstrikes occurred at around 08.30 (local time) on 25 November in the vicinity of Mitiga International Airport (MJI), located five miles (8km) east of the capital Tripoli. There were no immediate reports regarding casualties or the extent of damage, if any, to the facility. Details of the incident are still emerging.The developments come after an airstrike on the airport took place at around 17.45 on 24 November, prompting the closure of the facility. There were no concrete reports of any consequent casualties or damage.Travel Advice

  • Pending further clarity around the latest developments, defer all travel to Tripoli.
  • Avoid the vicinity of Mitiga International Airport until further notice.
  • Maintain flexible itineraries and examine alternative options for departure given the possibility that the airport will remain shut for a period of time.
  • Members in Tripoli should closely liaise with their local security provider on the feasibility of any essential movements in Tripoli.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Libya for further updates.

 

19 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Bomb, gun attack on Green Village compound underscores persistent militant threat (Revised 21.20 GMT)

An attack on the Green Village compound in the east of the capital Kabul on 19 November highlights the persistent threat posed by militancy in the city. The incident began at around 20.50 (local time), when a car bomb detonated near the entrance to the compound, which is located on Jalalabad Road and houses foreign contractors.Four militants subsequently engaged in a gunfight with security personnel, during which all the assailants were killed, while at least three more explosions were heard. However, the police said there were no civilian casualties. Jalalabad Road is reportedly closed in both directions and there is a large security force presence in the vicinity of the compound.The attack, which was reportedly claimed by the Taliban, underscores that travel to the country should be for essential purposes only and requires flexible itineraries, detailed preparation and dedicated local security support.Travel BriefingThe development comes one day after militants staged a similar attack on the compound of an international security firm in the eastern Pul-e-Charkhi area of Kabul, killing two local security guards. The incidents illustrate insurgents’ continued ability to carry out significant bombing and shooting attacks in the country’s urban centres, including Kabul. We expect that militant groups will attempt to maintain their operational tempo and visibility, including in the capital, ahead of the international combat troop withdrawal at the end of December.Militants often detonate bombs at the gates of targeted premises, with the aim of allowing other insurgents to enter. This is usually followed by a shoot-out between the security forces and the militants, though the latter are rarely able to get further than the outer perimeter of such compounds and the non-insurgent fatality rate is generally relatively low. Nevertheless, travellers should minimise movement outside secure premises and time spent around likely militant targets, both static and in transit.While most attacks continue to focus on the security forces and government personnel, diplomatic and other compounds linked to the international presence also represent high-value targets for militants. These and continued insurgent attacks on perceived ‘soft’ targets such as shopping centres, cinemas and marketplaces mean that the direct and incidental terrorism risks posed to business travellers and foreign employees of international organisations remain significant.BackgroundThe Green Village compound in October 2013 experienced a similar attack, in which two civilian passers-by were killed. However, the layout of the compound and the security provision there mean that it is very difficult for militants to penetrate the compound’s residential areas.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Avoid the vicinity of the Green Village and surrounding areas until the situation clarifies, and to mitigate the risk of follow-up attacks. Expect an increased security force presence and associated travel disruption in the area as investigations continue, and comply with all instructions issued by the security forces.
  • Travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only. We advise against travel outside major cities. Essential travel to Afghanistan requires flexible itineraries, detailed preparation and dedicated local security support: be prepared to postpone or cut short travel at short notice.
  • While in-country, members should employ 24/7 professional security support to ensure access to the latest locally sourced threat intelligence, trip-specific assessments, operations-room tracking, reliable communications and immediate access to emergency support. Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement.
  • Minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit. Be prepared to respond in the event of an attack. If in the vicinity of an attack, stand fast in a secure location until the situation stabilises. Move only if in immediate danger or to reach a secure location. Comply with instructions from the security forces.
  • The above advice is not exhaustive; consult our Standing Travel Advice and seek expert advice and professional security support prior to travel in Afghanistan.

 

19 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Iraq: Erbil: Car-bomb explosion near governorate building causes casualties; avoid affected area

A reported suicide car-bomb explosion around midday on 19 November near the Governor’s Office in central Erbil (Kurdistan Region, KR) has killed at least four people and injured several others. The authorities have put the city on high alert and set up additional checkpoints in the area. There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the attack. Normal travel to the KR can continue.Travel BriefingThe explosion and ensuing movement restrictions in Erbil will impede travel within the city in the coming hours, but these are unlikely to be in place for an extended period. These types of attacks are rare in Erbil, where the travel risk rating remains MEDIUM – lower than Iraq’s overall EXTREME travel risk rating. The targeting of a government building is consistent with the few previous militant attacks in the city, most notably the 29 September 2013 co-ordinated attack at the security directorate (asayish) building. Members in Erbil should avoid the affected area and monitor security force directives in the coming hours.The incident appears to have been a failed attempt to drive an explosives-laden vehicle into the government building; reports suggest that the security forces stopped the lone attacker before he reached the entrance. As such, the incident reflects the intent but relatively limited capability of Islamist extremists to carry out attacks in Erbil, as well as the considerable capacity of the local security forces to present resistance to and deter such attacks. Erbil remains a much less permissive environment for militants than the rest of the country, largely due to the more stringent mitigation measures that are in place.Travel Advice

  • Normal travel to the Kurdistan Region can continue.
  • Avoid the vicinity of the governorate building until the situation normalises, and monitor government alerts regarding security forces measures and directives that could affect movement in the city.
  • Anticipate increased security checkpoints and allow additional travel time; carry personal identification documents to ease movement through checkpoints.
  • Liaise with local contacts regarding feasibility of movement within Erbil in the coming hours.
  • Consult the Standing Travel Advice for Iraq or contact your nearest Assistance Centre for additional assessment and advice on travel to the Kurdistan Region.

 

13 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Egypt: Cairo: Casualties reported in explosion at Helmeyat al-Zaytoun metro station; avoid area

At least four people were injured on 13 November in an explosion at the Helmeyat al-Zaytoun metro station on Line 1 in the north-eastern part of the capital Cairo. Some media sources report that at least one bomb was involved, though no group has claimed responsibility for the blast. Further details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of the Helmeyat al-Zaytoun station in the coming hours.
  • Expect heightened security and traffic restrictions in the area; allow additional time for any journeys near the Helmeyat al-Zaytoun station.
  • Continue to avoid using public transportation in Cairo. Use a trusted local driver for inner-city travel.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for further information.

 

12 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Kontagora: Avoid Federal College of Education after reports of fatal bomb attack

Reports indicate that at least three people were killed at around 12.15 (local time) by a suicide bomber at the Federal College of Education in Kontagora (Niger state). The security forces have been deployed to the area and details of the incident are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Avoid the area of the Federal College of Education until the situation is clear.
  • Liaise with your local security provider regarding the feasibility of movement in the area prior to setting out.
  • Monitor our travel alerts on Nigeria for related updates.

 

12 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Iraq: Baghdad: Avoid Nisour Square following fatal suicide bomb attacksA suicide car-bomb attack was reported on 12 November at the Federal Police headquarters in Nisour Square in the capital Baghdad. The incident occurred at 12.00 (local time), and was followed by another suicide bomb attack. Though casualty figures are not yet confirmed, early reports suggest at least 12 fatalities and several injuries.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Avoid the area of the incident and minimise movement in the International Zone until the situation stabilises.
  • Liaise with your local security provider regarding the feasibility of movement in the area prior to setting out.
  • Monitor our travel alerts for related updates.

 

10 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Mexico: Acapulco: Avoiding vicinity of Acapulco International Airport due to ongoing violent protests (Revised 20.15 GMT)At least 700 protesters, some reportedly armed with machetes and Molotov cocktails, are demonstrating outside Acapulco International Airport (ACA, Guerrero State) and related clashes have taken place with the police. The activists have instituted a blockade of the airport, preventing entry to and exit from the facility since approximately 12.30 (local time). The protesters are also attempting to prevent aircraft at the airport from taking off.Protesters reportedly entered the terminal and wrote graffiti on the walls, though there have been no reports of aggression toward people inside. Around ten police officers were apparently injured in confrontations at 09.00 (local time) when riot police at the adjacent La Isla Shopping Centre attempted to prevent the activists from marching towards the airport. The demonstration is being held in relation to the recent disappearance of a number of students.Travel BriefingMexico is a MEDIUM risk country with several HIGH risk zones, including Guerrero. Journeys to and through HIGH risk destinations should only be undertaken for essential purposes. Members undertaking essential travel to Guerrero should seek itinerary-specific advice and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communications and security arrangements prior to travel.Activists had previously announced their intention to ‘paralyse the country’ by occupying highways, refineries, and airports throughout Mexico. Protesters had also announced they would block access to the facilities of transnational companies, stage marches in major urban centres, and organise strikes in the education sector. Roadblocks have been reported on major routes throughout Guerrero, and travellers should liaise with local contacts to verify the status of routes prior to setting out.Recent assurances and concessions by politicians, including from President Enrique Peña Nieto, are unlikely to appease activists and further disruptive protests are likely. The parents of the students and their supporters are continuing to call for definitive proof of the whereabouts of the missing group. If human remains discovered on 7 November are confirmed to belong to the missing students, this is liable to spark further unrest. Members should avoid all demonstrations to mitigate the incidental risk of exposure to violence.BackgroundAt least six people were killed and 17 others injured on 26-27 September when the police allegedly opened fire on student protesters in Iguala; 43 students were reported missing following the violence. The incident has since led to regular disruptive protests in Guerrero, while demonstrations have also been held in Mexico City. At least 74 people, including at least 26 police officers, have been detained for their role in the disappearances.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of Acapulco International Airport in Acapulco until the situation normalises.
  • Members currently in the airport should remain in the terminal until further notice. Do not attempt to leave the airport, as this will likely elicit an aggressive response from the protesters.
  • Plan journeys circumventing related demonstrations in the city and elsewhere. If you come across any violent protests return to your accommodation/place of safety, if feasible.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Mexico for further updates.

 

9 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Mexico: Violent demonstrations in Mexico City, Chilpancingo underline potential for further unrest (Revised 10.25 GMT)A group of protesters late on 8 November attempted to storm the National Palace in the capital Mexico City. The demonstrators used metal barricades in an effort to break the palace door and set it on fire, which was extinguished by the police. Earlier on the same day, hundreds of protesters at around 17.00 (local time) demonstrated in the nearby Zócalo square. Elsewhere, about 300 students staged violent protests in the city of Chilpancingo (Guerrero state); demonstrators set vehicles on fire and threw petrol bombs at government buildings.The protests came a day after the attorney general announced that human remains found in Guerrero were suspected to belong to the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala (Guerrero) on 26 September. He said that three suspected gang members confessed to killing the students and disposing off the remains in Cocula (Guerrero). Although DNA tests to confirm these claims are pending, further demonstrations are likely and should be avoided by all travellers due to the potential for unrest.Travel BriefingMexico is a MEDIUM risk country with several HIGH risk zones, including Guerrero. Journeys to and through HIGH risk destinations should be undertaken for essential purposes only. Members undertaking essential travel to Guerrero should seek itinerary-specific advice and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communications and security arrangements prior to travel.Activists had previously announced their intention to ‘paralyse the country’ by occupying highways, refineries, and airports throughout Mexico. Protesters had also announced they would block access to the facilities of transnational companies, stage marches in major urban centres, and organise strikes in the education sector. Roadblocks have been reported on major routes throughout Guerrero, and travellers should liaise with local contacts to verify the status of routes prior to setting out.Recent assurances and concessions by politicians, including from President Enrique Peña Nieto, are unlikely to appease activists and further disruptive protests are likely. The parents of the students and their supporters continue to call for definitive proof of the whereabouts of the missing group. If the remains discovered on 7 November are confirmed to belong to the missing students, this is liable to spark further unrest. Members should avoid all demonstrations to mitigate the incidental risk of exposure to violence.BackgroundAt least six people were killed and 17 others injured on 26-27 September when the police allegedly opened fire on student protesters in Iguala; 43 students were reported missing following the violence. The incident has since led to regular disruptive protests in Guerrero, while demonstrations have also been held in Mexico City. At least 74 people, including at least 26 police officers, have been detained for their role in the disappearances.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to areas of heightened risk should be limited to business-critical activities only and should be arranged in close liaison with trusted local contacts. Members should seek itinerary-specific advice prior to travel and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communication and security arrangements prior to travelling.
  • Members in Mexico City should avoid the National Palace and the Zócalo while the protests continue. Travellers in Guerrero should avoid the governor’s residence, town halls, other government buildings and all protest sites due to the potential for unrest. Although foreigners are rarely targeted, any clashes would pose incidental risks to bystanders.
  • Liaise with trusted local contacts to confirm the status of routes prior to setting out. Do not attempt to cross any blockades erected by protesters or the security forces as this may prompt a hostile reaction.
  • Crime poses the main risk to travellers in Mexico and criminals are often armed; take stringent security precautions at all times. If accosted by a criminal, assume that the assailant is armed and do nothing to resist or antagonise them.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; consult our Standing Travel Advice for Mexico.

 

5 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Yemen: Sanaa: Explosions at airport underscore persistent insecurity; airport operations normal (Revised 21.34 GMT)At least two explosions were reported at around 21.00 (local time) on 5 November at the capital’s Sanaa International Airport (SAH). Details of the incident remain unclear, though security officials reported that unidentified men on motorbikes threw one explosive device at the entrance to the airport and another at the entrance to the adjacent military airfield. Following the blasts, there were also reports of gunfire at a nearby checkpoint manned by members of the Shia Muslim Houthi movement. There were no initial reports of casualties in the incidents.Officials reported that the airport was operating normally following the incident, and denied media reports of damages to the runway. The security forces increased checkpoints and deployed additional security force personnel to the area, including along Airport Road. They also reportedly restricted access along the route to vehicles not travelling to the airport; however, it is unclear if this measure is still in place.Travel BriefingHeightened security measures are likely to remain in place around Sanaa Airport and along Airport Road over the coming days as the authorities conduct investigations. Although the airport is reportedly operating normally, some carriers may cancel flights as a precautionary measure, though there are no such indications thus far. Travellers should liaise with their local security provider before undertaking movement in the capital and reconfirm flight schedules before setting out.Although the motive behind the attack remains unclear, tensions in Sanaa have remained heightened since the Houthis seized control of the city in September. A wide variety of rival armed groups are capable of operating in Sanaa. An attack by radicalised individuals in support of one group or another is also possible, as weapons ownership is widespread and the security forces are often incapable of enforcing law and order. The incident underscores the persistent insecurity in Sanaa, where the travel risks remains rated as EXTREME.Travel Advice Summary

  • Defer all travel to mainland Yemen except Sanaa, where journeys and expatriation remain possible with stringent security precautions and fully co-ordinated journey-management plans.
  • Other than in Socotra, where travel risks are rated as MEDIUM, avoid overland travel outside urban areas due to significant risks of exposure to armed conflict and kidnapping; travel by air is the safest and most efficient means of movement between cities. Members undertaking unavoidable cross-country travel should have a fully co-ordinated security programme in place, including armoured cars and armed personnel; a secure government escort may be necessary for some journeys.
  • We do not hold information on specific flights. Reconfirm flight schedules with the relevant carrier before setting out.
  • Carry relevant identification documents to ease passage through checkpoints.
  • The above advice is not exhaustive. It is necessary to seek expert advice and professional security support prior to travel in Yemen.

 

3 Nov 2014

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Punjab: Suicide bombing near Wagah-Attari border crossing reminder of persistent travel security risks (Revised 3 Nov)

At least 59 people were killed and more than 120 others injured on 2 November in a suicide bombing near the Wagah-Attari border crossing between India and Pakistan, 18 miles (29km) east of Lahore (Punjab province). The attack took place at 18.10 (local time), approximately 2,000 feet (600 metres) from the daily sunset flag-lowering ceremony at the border crossing, which is attended by large crowds.No parades will be held at the border crossing for three days. The Wagah-Attari crossing remains open, though members intending to undertake cross-border travel should expect stringent checks and significant delays, and reconfirm the status of the border crossing prior to setting out; aim to reach the crossing before 15revis.30.Travel BriefingThe Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militant group – an offshoot of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan – claimed responsibility for the attack, stating it was in response to an ongoing military operation against militants in North Waziristan Agency (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). The timing and location of the attack underline the intent to inflict a large number of civilian casualties, as well as attract attention due to the high-profile nature of the daily border ceremony. The suicide bomber had reportedly passed through other checkpoints but was unable to proceed further before undergoing a more thorough security check, and therefore detonated his explosives outside the ceremony venue.Despite the incident, the primary target for militant attacks in the country is expected to remain security force buildings, patrols and checkpoints. However, there is a persistent risk of attacks in densely populated unsecured areas such as markets and places where Westerners and the Pakistani elite are known to congregate; Pakistani security agencies have previously warned that militant groups could attack the Integrated Check Post (ICP) located at the Wagah-Attari crossing. These risks can be mitigated by accommodation choice, robust journey management protocols, maintaining a low profile and minimising time spent at likely targets for attack.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Pakistan can continue with stringent security precautions; these include: maintaining a low profile and implementing a thorough and robust journey management plan.
  • Ensure that due diligence of accommodation is conducted during the selection process, identifying the level of security in place, the location of the hotel and any supporting infrastructure; only business-class hotels or secure residential compounds should be considered.
  • The Wagah-Attari crossing remains open, though members intending to undertake cross-border travel should reconfirm the status of the border crossing prior to setting out. Expect stringent checks and significant delays; aim to reach the crossing before 15.30 and ensure that all documentation and visas are in order.
  • Maintain heightened awareness at all times and minimise your exposure to likely targets for terrorist attacks, both stationary and in transit; these include: security force personnel and installations, including checkpoints, mosques, densely populated unsecured areas such as markets, and places where Westerners and the Pakistani elite are known to congregate.

 

 

30 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Burkina Faso: Defer all travel as situation remains unpredictable after state of emergency, curfew imposed; in-country staff should stand fast (Revised 21.14 GMT)

Members should defer all travel to Burkina Faso until further notice due to the potential for insecurity associated with an ongoing stand-off between President Blaise Compaoré and anti-government activists demanding that he step down. Protesters ransacked government-related sites in the capital Ouagadougou on 30 October and clashed with the security forces around the presidential palace, in the Ouaga 2000 area. Up to 20 people are reported to have been killed in the disturbances.Compaoré, whose whereabouts are unclear, has dissolved parliament, declared a state of emergency and called for talks with opposition groups. However, the chief of staff of the armed forces, Gal Honoré Traoré, has since imposed a curfew between 19.00 and 06.00 and announced that a transition government will be put in place for a year, in consultation with all political parties. Opposition leader Zéphirin Diabré has rejected the state of emergency and reiterated his demand for Compaoré to resign; the opposition Coalition against the Referendum has called for renewed protests on 31 October at 08.00 (local time) at Rond-Point des Nations Unies.Travel BriefingThe situation is fluid and the military statement on the establishment of a transition administration seems set to supersede Compaoré’s earlier announcement. In light of the opposition leader’s condemnation of the state of emergency and his political coalition’s call for fresh protests on 31 October, further unrest is likely in the next 24 hours if Compaoré does not step down and/or leave the country.Politically motivated attacks on government-related locations – politicians’ residences or headquarters of Compaoré’s Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) – have occurred, as has opportunistic looting at major hotels and shops in Ouagadougou. No attacks on foreign travellers or expatriates have been reported. Members staying at hotels should regroup as much as possible and, if approached by looters, comply with their demands. It is unclear to what extent security forces have redeployed to the streets after seemingly withdrawing from their posts earlier in the day, though the military is likely to seek to enforce the night-time curfew.While the curfew can be expected to instil calm overnight on 30-31 October, both activists and the security forces are likely to take to the streets again early on 31 October. In-country staff should continue to stand fast as we expect that insecurity will remain heightened in the coming 24-48 hours; however, significant unrest has so far mainly been concentrated in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso (Houët province), and is less likely in remote rural areas.We are not currently recommending evacuation; travellers should refrain from attempting to reach Ouagadougou International Airport independently. Even if the airport reopens, roadblocks may hamper access to the facility, and flights could be cancelled at short notice in light of the unrest. Any bookings should be reconfirmed and secure transport organised prior to any move to the airport.BackgroundAfter entering the National Assembly early on 30 October to disrupt the vote on the controversial constitutional amendments, protesters ransacked the building and went on to attack other government-related locations across the city, including the headquarters of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) and residences of CDP-associated MPs. Following initial scuffles at roadblocks erected around the legislature, they faced little resistance from the security forces with the exception of the Presidential Guard, who fired shots at protesters around the presidential palace and have established a security cordon around it. Government buildings remain potential flashpoints for unrest.Travel Advice SummaryIn-country staff

  • Stand fast at a secure location until the situation has stabilised. Do not attempt to reach Ouagadougou airport independently and without ascertaining that routes are clear and bookings confirmed.
  • Adhere to all directives issued by the authorities, including by observing curfew hours. Approach any security checkpoints with caution.
  • Regularly communicate your position to your line manager.
  • Further acts of vandalism or looting are possible. Wherever possible, regroup with trusted neighbours. Do not antagonise looters if you encounter them; comply with their demands. Do not attempt to forcibly cross any roadblocks, as this may elicit a hostile response.
  • Closely monitor the situation through multiple trusted sources, including our travel security alerts.

Security managers

  • Defer all travel to Burkina Faso until the situation stabilises.
  • Account for all staff, confirming their status and location. Maintain communications between support teams and those on the ground and ensure continuous information flow.
  • Ensure that evacuation plans are ready to implement at short notice.
  • Confirm the numbers and location of your in-country staff and ensure you can communicate with them; test communications regularly.
  • Review local security measures to ensure they address the potential for a rapid deterioration of the security situation.
  • Ensure ability to activate transport or security providers in a timely fashion in the event that a secure move or relocation is required.
  • Closely monitor the situation through multiple trusted sources, including our travel security alerts.

 

30 Oct 2014

Burkina Faso: WARNING: Evacuation level increased to WARNING to reflect unpredictable security situation, potential for further deteriorationWe have increased our evacuation level for Burkina Faso to WARNING in light of sustained anti-government riots, which were triggered on 30 October by a controversial government plan to amend the constitution. The situation remains confused and looting at major hotels is reportedly under way in the capital Ouagadougou. The capital’s international airport is closed.Travel BriefingAlthough the government has announced that it has withdrawn the controversial bill, which would have enabled President Blaise Compaoré to seek another presidential mandate in the November 2015 election, attacks on government-related locations have continued and protesters have besieged the presidential palace in the Ouaga 2000 area, where heavy clashes have taken place. Although the protests appear to have died down, rioting youths remain in the city and looting is reportedly under way at some hotels. The overall political situation remains fluid, as demonstrated by the lack of any official communication, whether from the government or the military, which appeared to be taking control of the situation earlier in the day.The security environment remains unpredictable and has the potential to deteriorate further, leading to an increase in opportunistic looting, including at business premises and private residences. A curfew is likely to be imposed in the coming hours. We do not anticipate that related developments will pose a direct risk to foreign business travellers, given the domestic focus of these protest; however, due to their perceived wealth, business travellers could be exposed to opportunistic looting and lawlessness during any temporary power and security vacuum.Travel Advice Summary

  • Defer all travel to Burkina Faso until the situation stabilises.
  • Members in Burkina Faso should stand fast at a secure location until further notice.
  • Do not attempt to reach Ouagadougou International Airport independently. Reconfirm any bookings as flights may be cancelled at short notice.
  • Security managers should:
    • Ensure that evacuation plans are current, realistic and ready to implement at short notice.
    • Review security for relevance to potential for rapid deterioration in security situation.
  • Monitor our updates.

 

30 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Burkina Faso: Stand fast in a secure location as protesters ransack government buildings in Ouagadougou; defer non-essential travel to country

Protesters opposed to planned constitutional changes have forcibly entered and ransacked the National Assembly building in the centre of the capital Ouagadougou, according to local media reports. Some protesters have reportedly headed towards the offices of Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao, while others have ransacked the offices of the state radio and TV station (RTB), as well as those of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), in central Ouagadougou.The security forces are reportedly not offering significant resistance to the rioters. The government has announced in a statement that it has withdrawn the controversial legislation. Local media indicate that protesters have assembled at Place de la Nation and consider marching towards the presidential palace in the Ouaga 2000 area of the city.Travel AdviceIn-country staff

  • Stand fast at a secure location until the situation has stabilised.
  • Communicate your position to your line manager.
  • Isolated acts of vandalism or looting are possible during outbreaks of unrest in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Do not antagonise looters if you encounter them. Do not attempt to forcibly cross any roadblocks, as this may elicit a hostile response.
  • Closely monitor the situation through multiple trusted sources, including our Travel Security alerts.

Security managers

  • Account for all staff, confirming their status and location. Maintain communications between support teams and those on the ground and ensure continuous information flow.
  • Defer non-essential travel to Burkina Faso until the situation stabilises.
  • Closely monitor the situation through multiple trusted sources, including our Travel Security alerts.

 

29 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Bangladesh: Tribunal issues death sentence against Islamist opposition leader; avoid any related protests

The country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) on 29 October issued a death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Islamist opposition party, on war crimes charges. Ahead of the verdict, the authorities had heightened security in the vicinity of the High Court complex in the capital Dhaka, where the trial took place, and closed roads in the vicinity of the court, notably between the Department of Fisheries building on Kakrail Road and the Doel Chotwor roundabout. Additional security forces have also been deployed.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of the High Court complex and the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka, a popular location for protests; demonstrations are also possible elsewhere in the country.
  • Ensure heightened awareness of the current security situation in the light of the verdict and ensure that you have a full understanding of any current protest activity before journeys are conducted, particularly within central Dhaka. Strict journey management planning is essential; travellers must ensure that their routes are clear of protests before undertaking any road movement.
  • Avoid all protests and large gatherings. Potential protest sites may include university campuses and lower-income areas inhabited by opposition supporters.
  • Vacate an area if a crowd or a group of security personnel begins to gather. In the event of unrest, where possible to do so safely, return to your accommodation and remain there until the situation stabilises. Be aware that the security force may use forceful tactics against protesters and that the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by the authorities in crowded areas can pose an indirect risk to anyone in the vicinity of demonstrations. Do not attempt to cross blockades erected by protesters as this may elicit a hostile response from demonstrators.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; refer to the Standing Travel Advice for Bangladesh for more information, and monitor our travel security alerts on Bangladesh for related developments.

 

26 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Rocket attack in Wazir Akbar Khan area underlines risks posed by persistent militancy (Revised 19.43 GMT)

At least two rockets fired from an unknown location landed at around 21.15 (local time) on 26 October in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the capital Kabul. Although no casualties were reported and no group has yet claimed responsibility, the attack underlines the persistent militant threat in the capital.Travel BriefingFollow-up security operations may result in traffic restrictions and stringent security checks in the area, which houses several embassies, in the coming hours. Travellers should carry relevant identification documents to ease movement. Militants periodically carry out rocket attacks against targets in the capital, including Kabul airport. Such attacks do not always result in casualties, but may cause damage and disruption.A variety of militant organisations, including the Taliban, have the ability to carry out attacks in the capital. Militant activity – which may take the form of bombings, suicide and rocket attacks, co-ordinated assaults and kidnappings – continues to pose significant direct and indirect risks to travellers. As such, the risks associated with travel to Kabul, and the country as a whole, continue to be rated as EXTREME.Travel Advice Summary

  • Anticipate increased spot-checks in the vicinity of the attack as the security forces conduct investigations; allow additional travel time, carry personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints and expect travel delays.
  • Essential travel to Afghanistan requires flexible itineraries, detailed preparation and dedicated local security support: be prepared to postpone or cut short travel at short notice.
  • Minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit.
  • This advice is not exhaustive. Consult the Standing Travel Advice for further information.

 

23 Oct 2014

Americas: Anticipate travel disruption due to Ebola-related restrictions, health screening measures

The authorities in several countries have introduced entry restrictions to curtail the spread of the Ebola virus. Health screening has also been implemented at ports of entry across the region. Travellers flying from countries affected by Ebola should enquire with the relevant embassies or health ministries about any requirements conditioning entry at their destination and prepare accordingly.The following countries have introduced indefinite restrictions:

  • Antigua and Barbuda on 17 October imposed an entry ban on nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The ban will also apply on anyone who travels to the country within 21 days of visiting any of the aforementioned nations.
  • Belize announced on 18 October that it would stop issuing visas for nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Sierra Leone nationals, who do not need visas to enter Belize, will also be banned. In addition, travellers who have visited any of the aforementioned countries in the past 30 days will be prohibited from entering the country.
  • Colombia imposed an entry ban from 14 October on any traveller who has visited Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal or Sierra Leone in the past four weeks. The restriction will also reportedly apply to Colombian nationals.
  • The Dominican Republic has banned entry to travellers who have been in the following countries in the past 30 days: Sierra Leone, Senegal, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria, as well as any countries that the World Health Organization has deemed to be affected by the Ebola virus.
  • Guyana announced on 16 October that visas would not be issued to nationals from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Furthermore, health officials will screen travellers who have visited these countries in the six weeks prior to their arrival in Guyana.
  • Haiti has banned entry to travellers who have been to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in the past 28 days. Travellers who have been to these countries more than 28 days before travel to Haiti must present a government-certified health certificate and the results of a blood test for the Ebola virus upon arrival. It is uncertain at this time how these measures will be carried out or enforced. International SOS is monitoring the situation.
  • Jamaica imposed an entry ban from 16 October for travellers arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as those who have visited these countries within the four weeks prior to their arrival. In addition, any Jamaican national who travels to the aforementioned countries will be quarantined for 28 days on return.
  • Panama on 22 October banned the entry of travellers who have visited Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past 21 days. The ban will remain in place until the three countries are declared Ebola-free.
  • St Kitts and Nevis have restricted the entry of nationals from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Similar measures will also be applied to travellers who have visited these countries in the 21 days prior to arrival.
  • St Lucia has banned visitors from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The government has also announced that, in addition to a visa, visitors from Nigeria will be required to present a recent medical certificate clearing them of the virus.
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines has banned visitors from Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
  • Suriname has banned entry to foreign travellers who have been to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past 21 days, unless they can present an ‘internationally recognised health certificate’ clearing them of the virus. No further details are available at this time.
  • Trinidad and Tobago announced on 16 October that it would deny entry to nationals of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. In addition, travellers who have visited any of the aforementioned countries in the past six weeks will be quarantined for 21 days upon arrival.
  • The US has announced that from 22 October, any passengers beginning their travels in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone will only be able to enter the country through the following airports: JFK International Airport (JFK, New York state), Newark International Airport ( EWR, New Jersey state), the capital Washington (DC)’s Dulles International Airport (IAD), Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL, Georgia state) or Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD, Illinois state). In addition, all travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be actively monitored for 21 days by public health authorities.

Travel Advice

  • Travellers flying from countries affected by Ebola should enquire with the relevant embassies or health ministries about any requirements conditioning entry at their destination, and prepare accordingly.
  • Allow additional time during arrival and departure to pass through enhanced medical screening.
  • Do not travel if you are sick. Persons with fever or other Ebola-like symptoms may be taken to designated centres or have entry/exit denied.
  • For further details and the latest information, refer to our dedicated Ebola website.

 

23 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Papua New Guinea: Mount Hagen: Authorities lock down town centre following fire; airport operating normallyThe authorities as of 23 October have heightened security and enforced a lockdown of Mount Hagen (Western Highlands province), including the town centre, following a fire there the previous day, which was accompanied by looting and clashes. Shops, banks, schools and business establishments in the area have temporarily closed. However, businesses outside the town centre are open, and both terminals of Mount Hagen Airport (HGU) are also operating normally.Earlier, the fire destroyed several businesses in the centre of town on 22 October. At least one person was reportedly shot early on 23 October during clashes between students and the police, who used tear gas to disperse reported looters. The situation has reportedly calmed.Travel Advice

  • Exercise caution in the coming hours in Mount Hagen and follow all directives issued by the security forces.
  • Allow additional time if travelling through the town to or from Mount Hagen Airport due to the possible presence of security checkpoints.
  • Travellers should be aware of the possibility of local criminals looting despite a police presence in the town; avoid any large crowd.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Papua New Guinea for related updates.

 

22 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Egypt: Giza: Avoid vicinity of explosion outside Cairo University

An explosion occurred on 22 October in front of the Cairo University in Giza (Giza governorate), resulting in an unknown number of casualties. Reports suggest that the blast was caused by a homemade explosive device and targeted security personnel in the area. Further details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of the bombing until the situation becomes clearer.
  • Account for personnel.
  • Expect heightened security and associated disruption in the vicinity of the explosion in the coming hours, as the security forces commence investigations. Carry personal identification documents to ease passage.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Egypt for further updates.

 

22 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Canada: Ottawa: Avoid vicinity of parliament building following reports of gunfire

At least one person has been injured in a shooting near the parliament building in the capital Ottawa. The authorities have locked down the area and the incident is ongoing. Details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Travellers should avoid the area around the parliament building until the situation normalises. Those in the vicinity should immediately return to a secure facility, such as their accommodation.
  • Obey all directives issued by the security forces.
  • Expect heightened security, including road closures and movement restrictions, in the area over the coming hours.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for further information.

 

17 Oct 2014

Americas: Check for Ebola-related restrictions prior to travelThe authorities in several countries have introduced entry restrictions to curtail the spread of the Ebola virus. Health screening has also been implemented at ports of entry across the region. Travellers flying from countries affected by Ebola should enquire with the relevant embassies or health ministries about any entry restrictions at their destination and prepare accordingly. The following countries have introduced indefinite restrictions:

  • Guyana announced on 16 October that visas will not be issued to nationals from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Furthermore, health officials will screen travellers who have visited these countries in the six weeks prior to their arrival in Guyana.
  • Jamaica imposed an entry ban from 16 October for travellers arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as those who have visited these countries within the four weeks prior to their arrival.
  • St Kitts and Nevis have restricted the entry of nationals from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Similar measures will also be applied to travellers who have visited these countries in the 21 days prior to arrival.
  • St Lucia has banned visitors from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The government has also announced that, in addition to a visa, visitors from Nigeria will be required to present a recent medical certificate clearing them of the virus. No further details are available at this stage, though we are investigating further.
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines has banned visitors from Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Travel Advice

  • Travellers flying from countries affected by Ebola should enquire with the relevant embassies or health ministries about entry requirements at their destination and prepare accordingly.
  • Do not travel if you are sick. Persons with fever or other Ebola-like symptoms may be taken to designated centres or have entry/exit denied.
  • For further details and the latest information, refer to our dedicated Ebola website.

 

 

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