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

 

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.

 

15 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Egypt: Cairo: Bombing near metro station underlines risks posed by militancy, need for additional security precautions (Revised 15 Oct)

At least 12 people were injured late on 14 October when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in front of the Gamal Abdul Nasser metro station in the capital Cairo. The device was reportedly planted next to a vehicle in a busy area of the city near the High Court of Justice and went off at approximately 23.30 (local time). No fatalities have been reported and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.Travel BriefingThe incident is indicative of the persistent travel security threat posed by militant attacks in Egypt and the need for travellers to employ additional security precautions and support. Militancy has increased since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in 2013. Most attacks consist of small-scale bombings and drive-by shootings by individuals or small militant cells that mainly target the police and armed forces. The authorities often blame the banned Muslim Brotherhood for such incidents, but extremist groups such as the Sinai-based Ansar Beit-al-Maqdis and Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) have also claimed responsibility for previous attacks.

The majority of militant attacks target the security forces and government personnel and facilities; however, sporadic attacks against civilian targets are also possible. Public transport, including trains and train stations, is a viable target for small-scale bomb attacks; in recent months, explosions have occurred at the Obari metro station in Cairo as well as at Sidi Gaber railway station and Alexandria metro station in Alexandria (Alexandria governorate). Foreigners are unlikely to be deliberately targeted in these attacks, but anyone in the vicinity would face significant incidental risks. Travellers should maintain situational awareness and minimise time spent in the vicinity of potential targets, including police stations, government buildings and security force personnel.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Continue to avoid the area of the explosion until the situation normalises. Expect heightened security in the area while the authorities conduct follow-up investigations. Carry personal identification documents to facilitate smooth passage.
  • Travel to Egypt can continue with additional security precautions. The following additional precautions may be currently necessary in view of the potential for a further deterioration in the security environment:
    • Ensure that travellers receive pre-travel briefings on the current situation and prevailing threats, and are confident in how to react to security incidents.
    • Ensure that a meet-and-greet service is pre-arranged with a trusted source, such as a local partner, agent or established hotel. Carry reliable communication at all times and be sure to know who to call if assistance is required (for instance, the International SOS Dubai Assistance Centre at +971 (0) 4 601 8777).
  • Minimise exposure to potential militant targets such as police stations, government buildings, security force personnel, checkpoints and convoys. Exercise caution in the vicinity of known trouble spots and sensitive locations such as key public squares, university campuses, major mosques, government institutions, police stations and political party offices and report any suspicious behaviour or suspect packages to the authorities.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; consult our Standing Travel Advice for Egypt.

 

14 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Americas: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua: Authorities issue tsunami warning following 7.3-magnitude offshore earthquakeThe Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) on 14 October issued a tsunami warning for El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua following a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, which struck at 42 miles (67km) west-south-west of Jiquilillo (Nicaragua) at 21.51 (local time) on 13 October. The temblor occurred at a depth of 25 miles (40km), can be expected generate tsunami waves in the coastal areas of the aforementioned countries within 186 miles (300km) of the earthquake’s epicentre. No tsunami warnings have been issued for the US.Travel Advice

  • Account for all personnel.
  • Personnel in the affected countries should avoid low-lying and coastal areas until the situation becomes clear or the tsunami warning is lifted.
  • Be aware that aftershocks may prompt further warnings and alerts.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for further updates.

 

14 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Yemen: Hodeidah: Houthi rebels reportedly take over city, erect roadblocks; defer all travel until further notice

Local media reports on 14 October said that Zaidi Shia Muslim Houthi rebels had taken over Hodeidah (Hodeidah province), erecting checkpoints across the city, including the roads leading to the international airport (HOD) and the port area. There is no information currently available on the impact on these facilities. The development follows the seizure on 13 October of a weapons depot used by the provincial armed forces in Bajil district (Hodeidah). Local reports said that a security guard had been shot dead by the rebels at the local commercial court. Further details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Defer all travel to Hodeidah until further notice.
  • Members in the city should stand fast till the situation is clear and should undertake any essential movement after liaising with local security providers to ensure they have a monitoring capability that can effectively assist in planning routes that avoid hot spots.
  • Reconfirm flight schedules with relevant service providers. We do not hold information on specific flights.
  • Expect checkpoints throughout the city and comply with all instructions issued by the security forces.

 

12 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Mazar-e-Sharif: Anticipate heightened security, associated disruption following militant attack on police headquarters (Revised 11.59 GMT)At least two policemen were killed on 12 October during a militant attack on a police headquarters building in Mazar-e-Sharif (Balkh province). Reports indicate that suicide bombers, wearing police uniforms, were intercepted by the security forces at around 12.35 (local time) at the second security gate of the facility. The attackers were killed in the ensuing firefight, which lasted about an hour. At least 16 people were apparently injured in the attack, for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility.Travel BriefingHeightened security measures should be expected in Mazar-e-Sharif, particularly near the police headquarters, as the authorities conduct investigations into the attack. Such measures could include checkpoints, which would delay travel. Members should avoid the affected area and minimise movement until the situation stabilises. They should carry relevant identification documents to ease passage and adhere to all directives issued by the authorities if travelling in the area.Bombings in Mazar-e-Sharif are relatively uncommon; most are minor and caused few casualties. Insurgents nevertheless remain capable of carrying out larger attacks. The latest incident reflects militants’ continued focus on the security forces and government personnel. While no blast was reported, the attack followed a common insurgent tactic, whereby an assault on a well-secured compound begins with a bomb attack. Such operations are usually followed by a protracted shoot-out between the security forces and militants, who are rarely able to breach more than the outer perimeter of the compounds.

Travellers should nonetheless be aware of the considerable incidental risks posed by militant attacks, including those targeting security force personnel and installations. Foreign nationals should minimise time spent in the vicinity of potential targets, both stationary and in transit. Members should also seek itinerary- and profile-specific expert advice and professional security support prior to undertaking travel to the country.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Anticipate heightened security and associated travel disruption in the area due to follow up investigations. Follow all directives issued by the authorities.
  • Travellers in Mazar-e-Sharif should liaise with their security support for movement advice on undertaking essential movements. We advise against travel outside major cities.
  • If travel to Afghanistan is essential, seek professional security support and ensure you are fully briefed on the prevailing threats prior to deployment. Contact your nearest Assistance Centre for further information.
  • There is a persistent and significant risk of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. In-country personnel should minimise time spent in the vicinity of potential targets, both stationary and in transit.

 

9 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Yemen: Sanaa: Fatalities reported following suicide bombing at Tahrir SquareAt least 20 people were killed and several others injured on 9 October in a suicide bombing at Tahrir Square in the centre of the capital Sanaa. While details of the incident are still emerging, preliminary reports indicate that the attack targeted a gathering of supporters of Shia Muslim Houthi rebels.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Avoid the vicinity of the explosion until the situation becomes clearer.
  • Anticipate heightened security as the security forces conduct investigations and liaise with your security provider regarding the feasibility of any essential movement in the area.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for related updates.

 

9 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur: Expect localised disruption on Jalan Bukit Bintang following explosionAt least 14 people were injured in an explosion at 04.25 (local time) on 9 October outside a pub on Jalan Bukit Bintang in the centre of the capital Kuala Lumpur. The explosion, in which at least four vehicles were damaged, was reportedly caused by a hand grenade; the police discovered another grenade at the site of the explosion, which had failed to explode. While further details of the incident are still emerging, preliminary reports indicate the incident to be related to criminal activity or extortion.Travel Advice

  • Travellers should be prepared for some localised travel disruption around the area of the incident on Jalan Bukit Bintang as the police conduct investigations.
  • Travel in central Kuala Lumpur, and along Jalan Bukit Bintang, can continue.
  • The most immediate risk for travellers in Kuala Lumpur remains that of petty crime; persons are advised to routinely remain alert to their surroundings and minimise the open carriage of valuables.

 

7 Oct 2014

Special Advisory – Turkey: Curfew imposed in several areas in south-east following violent protests; further demonstrations likely (Revised 22.54 GMT)At least nine people were killed overnight on 7-8 October and many others injured in several south-eastern provinces during violent protests to denounce the extremist Islamic State (IS) group’s reported takeover of the Kurdish-majority Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab (known in Kurdish as Kobane). In Diyarbakir (Diyarbakir province), several thousand people rallied in the Sur, Kayapinar and Baglar districts. The protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and reportedly attacked several passing motorists; incidents of arson, targeting vehicles and buildings were also reported.The authorities subsequently announced province-wide curfews between 22.00 and 07.00 (local time) in Diyarbakir and Batman provinces. The measure will remain in place for two days, though it is subject to extensions. Curfews have also been put in place from 17.00 (local time) in Dargecit, Derik, Kiziltepe, Mazidagi, Nusaybin, Omerli and Savur districts (all Mardin province), and from 18.00 in Ercis district (Van province) and Siirt (Siirt province). The measures will remain in place until further notice.Related unruly protests were reported on the same day in Kadikoy and Bagcilar districts in Istanbul (Istanbul province), the capital Ankara, Antalya (Antalya province) and other urban centres. A day earlier, two people were injured when the police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse related demonstrations in Adana (Adana province).Travel Briefing The conflict in Ayn al-Arab has exacerbated long-standing anti-government grievances among the ethnic-Kurdish population. Further demonstrations over the issue are likely in the coming days in response to developments in that area. The fatalities during the recent protests may further inflame tensions in the region, with funerals of activist likely to be flashpoints for further unrest. While demonstrations are particularly likely in Kurdish-majority areas in the south-eastern provinces, these could also occur in major urban centres outside that region such as Istanbul and Ankara, which have large Kurdish minorities.The authorities are liable to use tear gas, water cannon and, occasionally, live ammunition to disperse unruly demonstrations, while protesters – especially in restive parts of the south-east – often throw Molotov cocktails and fireworks and block roads with burning tyres. Although foreigners are unlikely to be targeted, they face incidental risks in the event of disturbances. Members should liaise with local contacts to remain apprised of any planned or ongoing protests and plan routes avoiding them as a general security precaution.

Increased security measures should be expected throughout the south-east in the coming days. In addition to curfews, which may be announced with little advance notice, the authorities are liable to deploy additional security force personnel to affected areas. The latter may establish checkpoints and cordons in major squares and in front of government buildings in urban centres in the south-east as a pre-emptive measure. Members should adhere to curfew timings, follow all instructions issued by the authorities and carry relevant identification documents to ease passage through checkpoints.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Members in areas where a curfew is in place should standfast in a secure location during curfew hours. Liaise with local contacts on the feasibility of movement outside of curfew hours.
  • Avoid all protests due to the credible risk of violence. Protests are liable to occur with little to no advance notice; if caught in the vicinity of unrest quickly but calmly leave the area.
  • Expect heightened security measures in affected areas of south-eastern provinces over the coming days; allow for additional travel time and carry proper identification to ease passage through checkpoints or spot-checks. Treat all security force personnel with patience and respect.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Turkey for further updates.
  • Seek itinerary-specific advice before travel to the south-east. Minimise all overland travel in rural parts of south-eastern Turkey. Overland travel in these areas should only be undertaken with a local guide in daylight hours. Consult our Standing Travel Advice for Turkey for further information.

 

23 Sep 2014

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Peshawar: Expect heightened security, associated disruption following fatal explosion on Saddar Road (Revised 07.09 GMT)Heightened security and associated disruption should be expected in Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province) in the coming days after at least three people were killed and 13 others injured on 23 September in an explosion targeting a senior army official travelling in a security convoy on Saddar Road. Reports indicate that the explosive device was planted in a vehicle; gunfire also occurred in the area shortly after the blast, which damaged nearby buildings and vehicles. The army official survived the attack. The authorities have cordoned off the area while investigations continue.Travel BriefingMembers on essential travel to Peshawar should minimise movement in the city and anticipate stringent movement restrictions, particularly in the immediate vicinity of the explosion. Travellers should allow additional time for journeys and carry relevant identification to ease passage through security checks.No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, though a variety of Islamist extremist groups – including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, the Pakistani Taliban) – maintain a presence in Peshawar and are capable of such attacks. The attack underlines the EXTREME risks associated with travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in comparison with the country’s overall HIGH rating. Members should avoid non-essential travel to Peshawar; business-critical trips should only be undertaken after seeking expert advice and professional security support.Travel Advice Summary

  • Avoid all non-essential travel to Peshawar due to the risks posed by insurgency and any related military operations. If travel is essential, seek expert advice and professional security support prior to deployment.
  • Anticipate heightened security, including more stringent procedures at security checkpoints, and associated disruption across Peshawar over the coming days. Allow additional time for essential journeys in the Saddar Road area and carry identification documents at all times to ease passage through checkpoints.
  • Avoid all travel to Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Travel to all other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be for essential purposes only due to the risks posed by military operations and insurgency. If travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is essential, seek expert advice and professional security support prior to deployment.
  • There is a significant risk of terrorist attack by Islamist militants in Pakistan. Foreigners, in particular Westerners, may be directly targeted. Likely targets include government and military personnel, Shia Muslim and Christian religious gatherings, densely populated unsecured areas such as markets, Western embassies, and places where Westerners and the Pakistani elite are known to congregate. Maintain awareness at all times, minimise your exposure to likely targets and report suspicious behaviour to the authorities.
  • Ensure you are confident in your accommodation and transport arrangements, are fully briefed on the prevailing threats prior to deployment in Pakistan, and that you know what to do in the event of a major security incident or medical emergency. The above advice is not exhaustive; consult the Standing Travel Advice for Pakistan and seek itinerary- and profile-specific advice prior to travel to the country.

 

21 Sep 2014

Special Advisory – Egypt: Cairo: Fatal bombing near foreign ministry building underscores persistent risks posed by militancy (Revised 10.21 GMT)At least four people, including security personnel, were killed on 21 September and several others injured in an explosion near the foreign ministry building in the Boulaq Abu El-Ela district of the capital Cairo. The authorities have heightened security in the area following the explosion, which was caused by a roadside bomb and apparently targeted police personnel deployed to a crowded street in the area. The incident underscores the continued threat posed by militant attacks and the need for travellers to observe security precautions and to minimise exposure to potential militant targets, including security personnel and facilities.Travel BriefingMilitancy has increased nationwide since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi (2012-13). Most attacks comprise of small bombings and drive-by shootings by radicalised individuals or small militant cells, many of which are believed to be primarily composed of Morsi supporters. While the authorities routinely blame the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement, extremist groups such as the Sinai-based Ansar Beit-al-Maqdis and Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt) have also claimed responsibility for several previous attacks.Most militant attacks target the security forces and government personnel and facilities, and we expect this trend to continue. However, sporadic attacks against civilian targets are also possible, and public transport has notably been targeted in recent months, with both trains and train stations being targeted by small-scale bomb attacks. While foreigners are unlikely to be deliberately targeted, anyone in the vicinity of attacks would face significant incidental risks. Travellers should maintain awareness of trouble spots and minimise time spent in the vicinity of potential targets, including police stations, government buildings, and security force personnel and convoys.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Egypt can continue with additional security precautions. The following additional precautions may be currently necessary in view of the potential for a further deterioration in the security environment:
    • Ensure that travellers receive pre-travel briefings on the current situation and prevailing threats, and are confident in how to react to security incidents.
    • Ensure that a meet-and-greet service is pre-arranged with a trusted source, such as a local partner, agent or established hotel. Carry reliable communication at all times and be sure to know who to call if assistance is required (for instance, the International SOS Dubai Assistance Centre at +971 (0) 4 601 8777).
  • Expect heightened security measures near the foreign ministry building in Cairo in the coming hours; these may include road closures, a heightened police presence and additional checkpoints. Carry personal identification documents to facilitate smooth passage.
  • Minimise exposure to potential militant targets such as police stations, government buildings, security force personnel, checkpoints and convoys. Exercise caution in the vicinity of known trouble spots and sensitive locations such as key public squares, university campuses, major mosques, government institutions, police stations and political party offices and report any suspicious behaviour or suspect packages to the authorities.

 

18 Sep 2014

Special Advisory – Yemen: Sanaa: Ongoing fighting reported near al-Iman University; stand fast until situation clarifiesHeavy clashes are reported to be ongoing between members of the Zaydi Shia Muslim Houthi movement and elements of the military loyal to former general Ali Mohsen near the al-Iman University campus in the capital Sanaa. Preliminary reports indicate that the fighting started after Houthi rebels attacked any army post in the area. Details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Members in Sanaa should stand fast until further notice.
  • Staff in the vicinity of the clashes should return to their accomodation immediately.
  • Monitor our alerts for further information.

 

16 Sep 2014

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Suicide attack targeting international troop convoy underscores significant travel security risks (Revised 7.21 GMT)A suicide vehicle bombing targeted an international troop convoy as it was travelling along Airport Road in the capital Kabul early on 16 September. The attack, which took place in the vicinity of the New Kabul Compound and Supreme Court, killed at least three foreign soldiers and injured 18 other people, including five troops. A Taliban spokesman subsequently stated that the group was responsible for the attack.Members should seek professional security support and ensure they are fully briefed on the prevailing threats prior to deployment to Afghanistan, which is rated an EXTREME travel risk location.Travel BriefingConvoys of security personnel are frequently targeted across the country, and civilians are occasionally caught up in attacks aimed at them. Most such attacks take place as convoys are entering or leaving military bases, though as this incident underlines can occur in crowded areas of cities. Major routes to and through Kabul such as Airport, Darulaman and Jalalabad roads are particularly vulnerable to suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks given their heavy usage by security force, government and international community convoys.Travel Advice SummaryTravellers and expatriates

  • Routinely minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit.
  • Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement; soft-skin vehicles may be practical in northern or western provinces, subject to a specific assessment and within city limits of urban centres.
  • Members should seek professional security support and ensure they are fully briefed on the prevailing threats prior to deployment to Afghanistan.

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.
  • If travel to Afghanistan is essential, companies should undertake a thorough review of physical and procedural security at all sites and staff accommodation against current security threats and likely militant tactics. Minimum requirements are a solid perimeter, sufficient stand-off from public spaces, tight access control, armed security and safe rooms.
  • Managers must be able to locate and communicate with all in-country travellers, including expatriate employees, throughout this period to account for them in case of a security incident. While communication networks in urban centres are reliable, use multiple providers and have satellite telephones available as back-up.

 

31 Aug 2014

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Minimise non-essential movement throughout Punjab, Sindh provinces amid violent opposition protests

Clashes are continuing early on 31 August between supporters of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) parties and the police in the government ‘Red Zone’ area of the capital Islamabad. Violence broke out after thousands of protesters attempted to remove security barricades in front of the prime minister’s house, to which the police responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Protesters have also breached security barricades outside the National Assembly building. More than 300 people have been injured so far, and at least five people killed.Access from Islamabad and Rawalpindi (Punjab province) to Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB) is viable, though difficult. Margalla Road is closed near the Red Zone in Sector F-6, while IJP Road, Faisabad Interchange and Khanna Pul Interchange are blocked.In Lahore (Punjab), the police fired tear gas to disperse PTI activists who had blocked Ghazi Road and Liberty Chowk late on 30 August, and have since blocked access to all government buildings in the city. The PTI has called for protesters to march to the prime minister’s house, on Raiwind Road on the south-western outskirts of Lahore; the road has been blocked.Reports are also emerging of protests in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur (all Sindh province), and Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sialkot (all Punjab). PTI protesters have blocked the Hyderabad-Karachi Super Highway and called for supporters to block Shahr-e Faisal Road between Jinnah International Airport (KHI) and central Karachi. The PTI has also called for a nationwide strike on 31 August, which has been supported by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party, whose stronghold is in Karachi.Travel BriefingThe situation is unpredictable and further violence and large protests are expected on 31 August throughout Sindh and Punjab provinces. Members should minimise non-essential movement in Punjab and Sindh provinces, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi, until the situation stabilises. Travel between urban centres in these provinces, as well as to and from airports, will be difficult due to security restrictions as well as protests and associated roadblocks.Within Islamabad, the vicinity of the Red Zone (Sectors F-5 and G-5) should be strictly avoided. A large contingent of soldiers is stationed outside state buildings in this area, though the security response is currently being led by the police, not military personnel. The risk of army intervention – both physically and politically – will increase if protests continue to grow in scale and intensity around the country.There have been no reports of protests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan provinces so far, though members in these areas should not be complacent; the situation is fast-moving and heightened awareness is required.BackgroundThe PAT and PTI parties staged a ‘long march’ on 14-15 August from Lahore to Islamabad, where they have remained since; both are calling for the prime minister’s resignation. PAT leader Tahirul Qadri is also calling for the resignation of the prime minister’s brother Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, over clashes between PAT supporters and the police in Lahore in June in which 11 people were killed. Khan is demanding a judicial enquiry into the 2013 elections, which he claims were fraudulent, and fresh polls.

Travel Advice Summary

For travellers or expatriate residents

  • Defer non-essential travel to Islamabad until the situation stabilises. Members already in the city should minimise non-essential movement and strictly avoid the government Red Zone.
  • Non-essential movement should also be minimised throughout Punjab and Sindh provinces, including Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi, on 31 August.
  • In the event of encountering protesters, relocate to a secure location and stand fast. Once safe, establish communications and alert your organisation following established protocols.
  • Allow additional time for transit to and from Islamabad and Karachi airports; a robust journey management plan, including contingency plans in the event that the primary route is blocked, is essential.
  • Members with appointments at diplomatic missions in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi should reschedule these due to likely access restrictions and reduced consular services.

For managers

  • Those with local offices in Punjab and Sindh should review business continuity plans and consider allowing staff to work from home while the protests are ongoing.
  • Ensure that staff observe appropriate journey management protocols.
  • Confirm and test means to locate and communicate with staff, and refresh plans to enforce working from home or a stand fast in the event of a deterioration in the security situation.

 

31 Aug 2014

Special Advisory – Somalia: Mogadishu: Fatal militant attack on intelligence facility in Bondhere district underlines EXTREME travel risks (Revised 15.45 GMT)At least 11 people, including three soldiers, were killed on 31 August when members of the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab assaulted an intelligence facility – which also houses a prison – in the Bondhere district of the capital Mogadishu. The assailants, who were allegedly attempting to free detained militants, detonated a suicide car bomb at the entrance to the facility before engaging in a gun battle with the security forces in which all the attackers were killed. The incident underlines the overall EXTREME risks associated with travel to the country due to persistent militancy.Travel BriefingSuch violence is not uncommon in the capital; 12 people were killed on 8 July when gunmen detained a car bomb and stormed Villa Somalia (presidential palace). The al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack, which followed a previous car bombing by the group outside the nearby parliament in Mogadishu on 5 July, in which four people were killed. Such developments serve as a reminder that travel to Mogadishu should be for essential purposes only and limited to the secure airport area.Similar security incidents are likely to persist in the coming months, with government and security force personnel and assets remaining the primary targets, though attacks have previously also occurred at sites where foreigners gather, thereby posing significant direct and indirect risks to travellers. In the event of an attack, members should liaise with their security provider regarding the incident and feasibility of movement. Long-range and indirect-fire weapons can also target well-protected areas of Mogadishu. Travellers staying in accommodation outside the airport areas should review their security arrangements with their security provider.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Mogadishu should be for essential purposes only and limited to the secure airport area.
  • Movement outside the airport perimeter requires a specific pre-travel threat assessment and a comprehensive and fully co-ordinated security programme, using providers with good local knowledge and solid response capabilities. The use of an expatriate security co-ordinator is recommended; independent travel is inadvisable.
  • Further attacks are possible in the short term. Travellers staying in accommodation outside the airport areas should review their security arrangements with their security provider to ensure availability of means of communication, and security escorts with quick response capabilities.
  • In the event of an attack, liaise with your security provider regarding the incident and feasibility of movement.
  • This advice is not exhaustive. For additional advice on travel to Somalia, consult our Standing Travel Advice.

 

 

Page Top