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

 

31 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Stand fast as unrest expected after opposition candidate reportedly wins presidential poll

Members in Nigeria should stand fast at their accommodation in anticipation of unrest in various locations, after preliminary results of the 28-29 March presidential election received thus far indicated that All Progressives Congress (APC) party candidate Muhammadu Buhari had won. The full results have not yet been officially announced, though media reports said that incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan had conceded defeat.

In-country members should anticipate adverse reactions, including violent protests and politically motivated attacks on rival supporters and their assets, in southern, Niger delta states loyal to Jonathan (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta states). Celebratory, and potentially disruptive, rallies by Buhari’s supporters are also likely to be held in northern states where he has strong backing.

Tit-for-tat attacks on local Muslims, who rival activists are liable to assume are supporters of Buhari, could occur in the central state of Plateau, while celebratory rallies, as well as limited protests, are possible in the commercial capital Lagos (Lagos state) and the capital Abuja, where both leading presidential candidates have been awaiting the poll results.

Travel Advice

  • Members in Nigeria should stand fast at their accommodation until the impact of popular reactions to the results on their local security environment can be assessed. Monitor local developments and our website for further updates.
  • Defer non-essential travel to Nigeria at this time. Members undertaking essential travel to Nigeria should enquire about prevailing conditions at their destination and ascertain that they have required security arrangements in place prior to proceeding with their trips.
  • Stay away from windows to minimise exposure to stray celebratory fire.
  • Keep your mobile phone charged as a precautionary measure.
  • Curfews may be imposed once the full results are released; keep abreast of and observe curfew hours.

 

30 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Asia & the Pacific: No reports of casualties, significant damage following strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea; tsunami warnings lifted (Revised 03.11 GMT)The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has lifted a regional tsunami warning issued after a magnitude 7.6 offshore earthquake struck at 09.48 (local time) on the same day, near the town of Rabaul (East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea). There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage as a result of the temblor, which occurred at a depth of 20 miles (33km).

The PTWC, which had earlier warned that tsunami waves of up to ten feet (3 metres) were possible along the coastal areas of Papua New Guinea, subsequently confirmed that the tsunami threat had passed. The agency had also issued a warning for small tsunami waves (less than a foot / 0.3 metres) for the coastal areas of American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Indonesia, Japan, Johnston Island, Howland and Baker islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, north-western Hawaiian islands, Palau, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.

Travel Briefing

Aftershocks of varying magnitudes are possible in the coming hours and days and could trigger landslides and falling debris, posing risks to life and property and exacerbating any existing damage in affected areas. Members should remain alert to the dangers resulting from the structural weakening of buildings and bridges and should not re-enter damaged buildings.

Travellers planning to undertake journeys to or within the affected areas should liaise with local contacts to ascertain the status of routes before setting out. Earthquakes can affect power supply and communications, though business-class hotels and centrally located offices in major urban centres are usually equipped with back-up generators and should not be severely affected.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Abide by all directives issued by the emergency services.
  • Aftershocks could pose risks to life and property. Be alert to the dangers posed by structural damage to buildings and bridges.
  • Anticipate possible disruption to travel and essential services in earthquake-affected areas.
  • Monitor and our travel security alerts for further updates.

 

29 Mar 2015

Yemen: EVACUATE: FULL EVACUATION: Continue to defer all travel, stand fast until evacuation options are available due to worsening conflict

Members should continue to defer all travel to Yemen amid continuing airstrikes by a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition against targets affiliated to the Zaydi Shia Muslim Houthi movement in the capital Sanaa, Hodeidah and Saada provinces, and southern areas near the contested port city of Aden (Aden province). The strikes have been much more intense in Sanaa during night-time hours, and have caused considerable refugee outflow from the city. Travellers in Yemen should stand fast and maintain close contact with their security provider until viable evacuation options become available. Our evacuation notification level remains at EVACUATE: FULL EVACUATION.Despite the airstrikes, the Houthis and their allies have continued to push into new areas, with reports from early on 29 March suggesting that they have pushed further into Abyan (where overnight airstrikes apparently destroyed some of their tanks near Shoqra) and Shabwa provinces in the south, while related clashes and airstrikes have also been reported in Marib, east of the capital. Aden and its surrounding area remain the most acutely affected by related fighting, with at least 14 people reportedly killed in gunfights in the city on 28 March.

Aviation issues

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition continues to enforce the closure of Yemen’s airspace as the airstrikes campaign continues, but occasionally opens up the airspace on a limited basis during daylight hours to allow certain flights to take off. Four flights departed from Sanaa International Airport (SAH) on 28 March, and national carrier Yemenia has issued a statement on their website that it intends to fly other aircraft out of the country in the near future, though permitting and security concerns make scheduling very uncertain.

Travel Briefing

The foreign airstrikes campaign, which began overnight on 25-26 March, will continue in the days ahead, likely targeting Houthi-affiliated military assets in Sanaa, Saada, the south and elsewhere. According to a Houthi-aligned local newspaper, an airstrike also struck a military airbase in Hodeidah overnight on 28-29 March. However, Houthi elements are present in most parts of the country, and all areas are currently vulnerable to possible foreign airstrikes and outbreaks of armed clashes that could pose serious incidental risks to bystanders.

There has been no increase in direct threats against foreign nationals amid the escalating conflict, though there is a very well-established trend of Western and regional nationals in Yemen being targeted in kidnaps and militant activity, mainly perpetrated by Sunni extremist elements. The Houthis – who have no record of violence towards foreigners – still control large swathes of the country, including the capital, and appear to be maintaining this territorial control despite the reported decimation of their air and missile capabilities.

Foreign intervention

The Saudi-led intervention is likely to persist in the days ahead. The objective appears to be to degrade the capabilities of the Houthis and their allies to use air assets, and to create space for forces allied with President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to gain back ground taken by the Houthi movement. An Arab League Summit held in Sharm al-Sheikh (Egypt) concluded on 28 March with broad agreement among several Arab states, who jointly called for the Houthis to surrender and withdraw from all occupied territory, and jointly stated that they would do ‘whatever is necessary’ to ensure these outcomes.

Reports of Egypt and Saudi Arabia discussing a joint ground offensive are likely to be premature, though the possibility of foreign troops being deployed, whether overland into the north of Yemen or via a naval deployment to the port at Aden, should be considered credible. Overt military involvement from the Houthis’ main foreign backer, Iran, does not appear likely, and would represent a very significant escalation if it were to occur.

Local movement

We have long advised against overland intercity movement due to the complex security situation; this remains the case, though some reliable local contacts have suggested that increased Houthi control of certain regions may have improved the viability of certain such movement, subject to professional risk assessment and route reconnaissance on a case-by-case basis. However, foreign military operations and movement of military assets by various actors would present additional hazards on such journeys.

Travel Advice Summary

Advice to international travellers

  • Defer all travel until further notice.

Advice to in-country members

  • Stand fast in a secure location and be prepared to withdraw all as soon as it is practical and safe to do so.
  • Secure premises and secure or remove commercially sensitive information.

Advice to travel risk managers

  • Liaise with professional security providers and other providers of business-critical services to confirm continued availability of support.Use these locals sources as much as possibleto ensure that your secure accommodation is not located near any Houthi military installations, including both mobile and fixed anti-aircraft assets.
  • Review and update all contact lists contained within centralised planning documents (if applicable).
  • Intercity land moves remain very hazardous, though limited journeys in certain regions of the country may be viable subject to professional route risk assessment. Nevertheless, any such movement would expose members to potential targeting, as well as the incidental risks posed by the escalating conflict.
  • Maritime evacuation options are also very unlikely due to the threat to vessels, as well as the absence of immigration capability at the ports.
  • Ensure timely and accurate communication with all staff throughout the evacuation process, including managing expectations of likely time frames for departure. Anticipate a degree of anxiety among staff and be prepared to deal with their concerns.
  • Companies continuing operations in Yemen must ensure that business continuity, crisis management and evacuation plans are in place, reviewed regularly in response to further deterioration, and are ready to be implemented at short notice. Plans should clearly indicate decision-making responsibility and be disseminated to all relevant staff.
  • Notify staff of the increased level of evacuation preparedness.
  • Conduct an evacuation briefing for key management staff (at a country, regional and global level, where applicable).
  • Conduct a daily check of emergency communications equipment by making and receiving notifications.
  • Check that all potential evacuees and dependents have up-to-date passports and visas (ultimate responsibility for these lies with the staff member).
  • Ensure sufficient access to hard currency.

 

28 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Somalia: Mogadishu: Fatal attack at hotel underlines persistent threat from militancy, need to avoid non-essential travel (Revised 08.16 GMT)At least 17 people were killed and several others injured on 27-28 March in an attack on the Maka al Mukarama Hotel on Maka al-Mukarram road in the capital Mogadishu. The assault began at around 16.30 (local time) on 27 March, when a car bomb was detonated at the entrance to the hotel, killing at least nine people. A group of heavily armed assailants subsequently entered the building, took several people hostage and engaged in gunfight with security forces that lasted more than 12 hours; the incident is now over.

The Islamist extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Travellers should continue to defer non-essential travel to Mogadishu; all essential travel should be limited to the secure airport area, due to the persistent threat from militancy.

Travel Briefing

The incident highlights the continued intent and capability of al-Shabab to carry out significant attacks in the capital, including against relatively well-protected locations. The group persists in targeting sites where foreign travellers may gather, such as hotels and restaurants. Mogadishu continues to carry an EXTREME travel risk rating due to the considerable risks posed by militant attacks; travellers should abide by all security directives.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Mogadishu should be for essential purposes only and limited to the secure airport area.
  • Continue to avoid the vicinity of the Maka al Mukarama Hotel until the situation is reported to have stabilised.
  • 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.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; consult our Standing Travel Advice for Somalia.

 

 

25 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Yemen: Aden: All operations at airport suspended until at least 26 MarchReports on 25 March indicate that all operations at Aden International Airport (ADE) have been suspended, reportedly in light of the deteriorating security situation. The facility is expected to remain closed at least 10.45 (local time) on 26 March.Travel Advice

  • Defer all travel to Aden and other parts of mainland Yemen, except Sanaa, where business-critical travel remains possible with stringent security measures.
  • Members remaining in Aden should travel within the city for business-critical purposes only and co-ordinate all such journeys with the full support of a professional, accredited security provider.
  • Travellers in Aden should closely monitor developments and liaise with airport authorities and relevant airlines to stay up to date on the airport’s status.
  • For further analysis and advice on travel to Yemen, refer to our Standing Travel Advice or contact your nearest Assistance Centre.

 

25 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Avoid vicinity of finance ministry following reported explosion on 25 MarchAn explosion has been reported on 25 March near the finance ministry in the capital Kabul. Initial reports indicate that the explosion was a suicide bombing. Casualties have been reported; further information is still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for staff members.
  • Avoid the finance ministry and surrounding areas until the situation becomes clearer.
  • Liaise with your security provider regarding the incident and feasibility of movement.
  • Increased spot-checks are likely as the security forces conduct investigations. Allow additional travel time and carry relevant personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for related updates.

 

24 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Europe & CIS: Spain, France, Germany: Germanwings Barcelona-Dusseldorf flight crashes; account for personnelReports on 24 March indicate that a Germanwings Airbus A320 aircraft, carrying 142 passengers, has crashed in the Digne-les-Bains area of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in southern France. The aircraft (Flight 9525), which was flying from Barcelona (BCN, Spain) to Dusseldorf (DUS, Germany), disappeared from radar screen at around 11.00 (France time). The flight had been scheduled to leave Barcelona at 09:35 (local Spanish time), and took off shortly after. Details are still emerging. The cause of the crash is currently unclear.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Contact Germanwings Airlines at + 33 089239 0158 for further information.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts to remain apprised of related developments.

 

 

20 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – India: India-administered Kashmir: Fatal attack on police station in Kathua underlines continuing risk of militant violence (Revised 07.38 GMT)

At least three security personnel were killed and several other people injured after two suspected militants at around 06.30 (local time) on 20 March attacked a police station in Rajbagh (Kathua district, India-administered Kashmir). The firing stopped at around 11.15 when the security forces killed the attackers, who were dressed in army uniforms and armed with automatic rifles and grenades.Although the attack is now over, the authorities have closed the nearby Jammu-Pathankot highway (National Highway (NH)-1A), which connects Jammu with Pathankot (Punjab state), as a security precaution. Additionally, an alert has been declared for army camps and schools in the region. The incident underlines the risk of militant violence even outside the state’s HIGH risk zones.Travel BriefingHeightened security can be expected in the region, particularly in Kathua, and in parts of Jammu, in the coming hours; members should expect additional checkpoints and security patrols in these locations, including along (NH)-1A, which is expected to reopen in the coming hours. Travellers should adhere to all directives issued by the security forces and carry personal identification documents at all times to ease passage through security checks.Although we continue to maintain a MEDIUM risk rating for Kathua district as opposed to the HIGH risk areas of the Kashmir valley and Kishtwar, Poonch and Ramban districts of the Jammu region, periodic attacks continue to occur in the area. Any militant related violence in the MEDIUM risk areas of Jammu are likely to consist of raids on security force camps and attacks on convoys. These actions will be largely confined to rural areas or smaller towns.

Although the more remote nature of these incidents limits the vulnerability of foreign personnel, those caught in the vicinity face serious incidental risks. Members should therefore remain alert at all times and, where possible, minimise time spent in the vicinity of potential militant targets such as military convoys, security and government installations. Furthermore, follow-up security operations and associated security measures such as roads being barricaded with barbed wire and armoured vehicles, checkpoints and unofficial curfews, can result in a near complete shutdown overland transport in affected areas.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Avoid Rajbagh police station and surrounding areas in the coming hours as the authorities conduct investigations. Exercise caution in Kathua and Jammu, especially around military facilities.
  • Reconfirm the status of NH-1A before setting out in coming hours; expect delays and associated disruption.
  • Anticipate a heavy security force presence in the region in the coming days and strictly adhere to all directives issued by the security forces. Be patient and respectful in your dealings with the security forces and carry personal identification documents at all times to ease passage through security checks.
  • Travel to the Line of Control (LoC) between India- and Pakistan-administered Kashmir is highly restricted and should be for essential purposes only. Travel to border districts with Pakistan within the state, including Bandipore, Baramula, Kupwara and Poonch, as well as Ganderbal and Kishtwar, should be conducted with security support and after ensuring the relevant permissions are sought.
  • If undertaking road travel in rural areas, contact the local authorities to verify the feasibility of the planned trips and take precautions against poor road conditions, limited availability of logistics support and the risks posed by militancy.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on India for related developments. Be prepared to adjust plans with minimal notice in the event of a security escalation.

 

20 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Yemen: Sanaa: Fatal explosions at Houthi-controlled mosques underline persistent insecurity, need to defer non-essential travel (Revised 14.07 GMT)

At least 55 people were killed on 20 March in three suicide bombings at two mosques in the capital Sanaa. Two explosions took place at the Badr mosque in south-eastern Sanaa, and another at the al-Hushush mosque in the north-eastern part of the city. The explosions reportedly occurred after Friday noon (local time) prayers.‎Reports quoting a Yemeni security official stated that both mosques were controlled by the Zaydi Shia Muslim Houthi movement and frequented by several members of the group. Most of the casualties were supporters of the Houthi movement. Precedents indicate that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and affiliated elements have carried out such attacks in the past; however, no group has claimed responsibility for the latest incident.Travel BriefingThe incident reflects the persistent insecurity in the country, which is a key reason for the EXTREME travel risk rating and associated restrictive travel advice. We continue to advise against all travel to mainland Yemen with the exception of Sanaa, where visits remain possible with enhanced security precautions.The Houthis’ efforts to expand their sphere of control into the other parts of the country have exacerbated sectarian tensions and increased the threat of further clashes with rival groups, including AQAP and other disenfranchised political groups, such as the Sunni Muslim al-Islah political party. In apparent retaliation for its perceived power grab, the Houthis have previously been targeted by AQAP elsewhere in the country, including in Sanaa. Any further violence directed at the Houthis and their interests would pose significant risks to travellers in the area.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Defer non-essential travel to Sanaa. Travellers in Sanaa should continue to avoid the vicinity of Badr and Al-Hashahush mosques and stand fast until the situation stabilises.
  • Defer all travel to mainland Yemen except Sanaa, where journeys and expatriation remain possible with enhanced security precautions and fully co-ordinated journey-management plans.
  • 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.
  • Ensure that you are confident in your transport, accommodation, communications and security arrangements, and you are fully briefed on the prevailing risks and necessary mitigating security measures prior to travel. Before deployment, register with your embassy and all other available warden networks. Carry tested communications systems at all times.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Yemen for related updates.

 

19 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Yemen: Aden: Explosions reported near presidential palace; continue to defer all travelAt least two explosions occurred on 19 March near the presidential palace in the southern port city of Aden (Aden province). Unconfirmed reports indicate that anti-aircraft guns fired at unidentified planes over the presidential compound; it is unclear if an airstrike targeted the presidential palace, which was reportedly subsequently evacuated.The incident comes after clashes broke out earlier in the day between rival forces near Aden International Airport (Aden), leading to the suspension of flights at the facility.Travel Advice

  • Defer all travel to Aden and other areas of mainland Yemen, except for Sanaa, where business-critical travel remains possible with stringent security measures.
  • Travellers in Aden should stand fast until the situation is clearer.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Yemen for related developments.

 

 

 

 

18 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Tunisia: Tunis: Avoid vicinity of parliament building due to reports of ongoing gunfireOngoing gunfire has been reported around the parliament building in the capital Tunis between the security forces and at least three unidentified gunmen. Preliminary reports suggest some casualties have occurred, and the building is currently being evacuated by the police. The situation is ongoing and further details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for all staff in Tunis.
  • Avoid the parliament building in Tunis until the situation clarifies.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Tunisia for related updates.

 

18 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Lashkar Gah: Suicide car bombing outside governors office highlights volatility of security environment (Revised 08:20 GMT)

At least seven people were killed and around 21 others injured in a suicide car bomb attack that occurred at around 10.50 (local time) on 18 March near the front gate of the governor’s compound in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The explosion, which damaged several nearby houses, was reportedly followed by gunfire; the incident is now over. The attack underlines that travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only and requires dedicated local security support. No group has so far claimed responsility for the attack.Travel BriefingThe majority of suicide attacks in Lashkar Gah over the past year have targeted the Afghan security forces – particularly the police – and targeting patterns are unlikely to change. Several similar attacks have occurred in recent weeks; at least four people were killed in a suicide car bombing on 16 March near a security checkpoint in the Safean area of the city. Prior to this, seven people were killed and 23 others injured in a suicide car bombing on 10 March in the city’s Police District 3. Members in Lashkar Gah should minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around buildings, personnel and vehicles associated with the government and security forces.The incident comes amid a large-scale Afghan National Security Force operation in northern Helmand. Although insurgent activity in the province has reduced since peaking in 2011, Helmand remains extremely volatile and is heavily contested by insurgents, particularly the north-eastern districts such as Nahri Sarraj and Sangin. Given the withdrawal of foreign troops from the province in 2014, insurgent activity is likely to be particularly high as the spring fighting season ramps up in the coming weeks.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only.
  • 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.
  • Minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around buildings, personnel and vehicles associated with the government and security forces.
  • Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement.
  • Accommodation should be arranged in secure compounds, hotels or villas, with adequate assessed security arrangements that can support a stand-fast period of up to 96 hours.

 

12 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – United States: St Louis: Continue to monitor developments, exercise caution following violent protest in Ferguson (Revised 08.38 GMT)

At least two police officers were shot and injured on 12 March during protests in the Ferguson suburb of St Louis (Missouri state). Unrest broke out at around 00.15 (local time) outside the city police department, where residents had gathered following the resignation of the local police chief over allegations of racial bias. The authorities have stated that at least three shots were fired during the protest, though it is unclear who fired them.Heightened security measures, including additional police officers, have been deployed to the area following the unrest. Members should exercise caution and monitor developments and avoid all protests as a routine security precaution.Travel BriefingTensions over the issue remain high, and further unruly demonstrations are expected to continue in the short term. A heavy security force presence should be expected in Ferguson in the coming days, and travellers should comply with all official government directions. While St Louis remains a LOW risk travel destination, all protests should be avoided due to the potential for continued unrest. Members in the city should exercise caution and follow all directives issued by the local authorities.Any further disturbances should be largely concentrated in Ferguson, but could spread to other areas of the city. Likely protest locations include Ferguson and St Louis’ Shaw district, as well the St Louis police headquarters at 1200 Clark Avenue; demonstrations are also possible in neighbouring Clayton (Missouri), in particular outside the county police headquarters and the district prosecuting attorney’s office. Activists or police officers may block roads, impeding traffic in the vicinity of protests; travellers should not attempt to cross any blockades as this is liable to elicit a hostile reaction.BackgroundThe resignation of the local police chief comes after a report by the Justice Department revealed the city’s discriminatory police tactics. Several unruly protests have taken in late 2014 after a police officer on 9 August shot and killed an 18-year-old unarmed African-American local in Ferguson. Violent demonstrations also erupted after a grand jury’s decision to not indict the police officer who shot the unarmed teen.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Avoid all demonstrations in Ferguson in the coming days to mitigate the risk of exposure to incidental violence and travel delays.
  • If encountering a protest, quickly but calmly return to secure accommodation, such as your hotel, and remain there until the situation normalises. Monitor events in the coming days and be prepared to be flexible in your travel arrangements and itineraries.
  • Protesters may attempt to block nearby roads during demonstrations. Do not attempt to cross such blockades as this could elicit a hostile response.
  • Abide by all directives issued by the authorities. Vacate the area if ordered to do so or if large groups of protesters and/or police officers begin to congregate.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on the US for information on further protests and related developments.

 

8 Mar 2015

Special Advisory – Egypt: Alexandria: Explosions highlight persistent, low-level militancy threat; travel can continue (Revised 14.17 GMT)At least one person was killed and nine others were injured on 8 March in two explosions in Alexandria (Alexandria governorate), underlining the persistent threat of militancy in the country’s major cities. The fatality occurred in an explosion near a French-owned supermarket on Mostafa Kamel Street in the north-eastern al-Seyouf area, while four people were injured in a bombing near a police station; a third explosive device was also reportedly defused at the latter location. While travel to the country can continue, foreign visitors should adopt standard security precautions to mitigate the risk of such attacks.Travel BriefingThe apparent targeting of a foreign retailer follows a series of small bombings in the capital Cairo over the past week in which both foreign and local mobile telephone company offices were damaged. A branch of an Emirati bank was also the apparent target of an explosion in Gharbiya governorate, just north of Cairo, on 7 March, which killed one person and injured 16 others. An Emirati telecommunications company was also targeted last week in the capital.These incidents reflect an intent on the part of some militants in Egypt to target symbols of countries that financially support the Egyptian government. Despite the recent uptick in the number of incidents affecting civilian and foreign corporate interests, foreign casualties have not been reported and militancy can still be said to mostly target the security forces. Recent attacks against police stations and other security force targets have tended to cause more casualties.The attacks on telecom firms last week mostly occurred before dawn, which suggest that the intent was to cause damage rather than casualties. However, the explosion outside the supermarket in Alexandria occurred while a minibus was passing through the area. Nevertheless, the principal threat to foreign visitors from such attacks remains incidental, and road traffic accidents and violent crime remain the most salient travel security issues for the vast majority of business visitors to Egypt.OutlookThis trend of attacks against foreign interests is likely to continue in the week ahead, as militants attempt to highlight Egypt’s domestic issues ahead of a widely advertised investment conference that is due to be held on 13-15 March in Sharm el-Sheikh (South Sinai governorate). Additionally, the emergence of smaller, radicalised groups that have claimed responsibility for some of the recent security incidents suggest an increasingly complicated domestic militancy scene; the North Sinai-based Sinai Province (formerly Ansar Beit-al-Maqdis) and urban extremist Ajnad Misr previously claimed most such incidents. Militancy is likely to persist as a notable threat in Egypt for the foreseeable future.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Alexandria can proceed with standard security precautions, but requires flexible itineraries and access to local knowledge; be prepared to postpone at short notice.
  • Members in the city should continue to avoid the affected areas in the coming hours as there is likely to be disruption while the police carry out investigations.
  • Minimise time spent around likely targets for militant attacks, including the security forces and government installations.
  • Visit our Egypt pages for assessments and advice on travel to the country.

 

4 Mar 2015

Mexico: Guerrero state: Anticipate disruptive demonstrations during indefinite teachers’ strike from 4 MarchMembers in Guerrero state should anticipate potentially unruly and disruptive demonstrations, including roadblocks, during an indefinite strike from 4 March by the CETEG teachers’ union. A related statewide rally is scheduled to begin at 10.00 (local time) from Monumento del Caballito located near Insurgentes Avenida on 11 March in the state capital Chilpancingo. Further details of the events are yet to be announced.The action has been called over several issues, including the killing of a person during a related CETEG demonstration on 24 February in Acapulco (Guerrero) and the disappearance of 43 students in September 2014 from Iguala city (Guerrero).Travel Advice

  • Liaise with local contacts for further information on the events. Precedents indicate that protests related to the disappearance of the students have the potential to turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations as a standard security precaution.
  • Reconfirm the status of routes if scheduled to pass through affected areas. Where possible, plan alternative routes avoiding protests, and allow plenty of time to complete journeys.
  • Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks or picket lines, as this may elicit a hostile, and potentially violent, response from activists.
  • Travel to Guerrero and other HIGH travel risk areas should be for essential purposes only, and should be arranged in close liaison with local contacts. Members should carefully plan all aspects of their itinerary and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communication and security arrangements prior to travel. Measures include travelling with a private vehicle and trusted driver and undertaking movement in daylight hours only. Journey plans should allow sufficient time for delays, such as a breakdown.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Mexico for related developments.

 

3 Mar 2015

Mexico: Michoacan state: High levels of drug-related violence to continue despite arrest of key cartel leader

The police on 27 February arrested Servando Gómez Martínez (‘La Tuta’), leader of the Knights Templar cartel and one of the country’s most wanted drug lords, in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán state. Despite his capture, the security environment in Michoacán will remain poor, underscoring its HIGH travel risk rating.Travel BriefingWhile the arrest of Martinez represents a significant boost to the authorities’ fight against the drug trade, this is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall security environment in the immediate term in Michoacán. The state is considered a key drug smuggling route and there is persistent violence stemming from both drug trafficking and vigilante organisations, known as autodefensas, operating in the region. Martinez’s arrest is not likely to exacerbate such violence in the short term; however, power struggles within and between drug trafficking organisations will continue. Clashes can involve armed criminal groups, drug cartels, vigilante organisations and the security forces.While travellers on legitimate business are unlikely to be specifically targeted in such violence, shoot-outs – a regular occurrence – can pose substantial incidental risks to bystanders, particularly if clashes occur in public spaces and on main roads. Overland travel is generally not safe in Michoacan and travellers should use air travel, where possible, to reach major cities in the state. Overland travel is possible from Mexico City and Guadalajara to Morelia only via major toll routes and with appropriate security support. Members who must undertake overland travel should follow recommended measures such as travelling with a private vehicle and security-trained driver and undertaking movement in daylight only.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to HIGH travel risk areas should be for essential purposes only and should be arranged in close liaison with trusted local contacts. Members should carefully plan all aspects of their itinerary and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communication and security arrangements prior to travelling.
  • Recommended measures include travelling with a private vehicle and security-trained driver and undertaking movement in daylight hours only. Journey plans should allow sufficient time for delays, such as breakdowns.
  • Driving standards are variable and highway robbery is a threat. Do not self-drive; pre-arrange hire of a private vehicle and experienced local driver through your hotel or host company. Keep windows up and doors locked at all times, and do not undertake road travel outside urban centres after dark. For more information, refer to our country travel pages.
  • Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks without permission, as this may elicit a hostile response.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; consult our Standing Travel Advice for Mexico.

 

3 Mar 2015

Libya: Tripoli: Libyan Airlines resumes flights to Istanbul, Amman; travel advice unchanged

National carrier Libyan Airlines on 1 March resumed flights to Istanbul (Turkey) and Amman (Jordan) from Mitiga International Airport (MJI), which serves the capital Tripoli. We continue to advise against all travel to Libya; in-country members should depart.Travel Advice

  • Defer all travel to Libya. Members currently in Libya should depart.
  • We do not hold information on specific flights. Reconfirm flight schedules with the relevant carrier before setting out and maintain flexible itineraries.

 

3 Mar 2015

Lesotho: Avoid non-essential travel to Maseru due to potential for election-related violence

Members should continue to avoid non-essential travel to the capital Maseru until the final results of the 28 February election are announced and it is reported the situation is calm. The elections passed off peacefully and the campaign period had been largely without incident, with the exception of a shooting on 1 February outside the Royal Palace, in which two of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s bodyguards were injured. The final results are expected to be announced on 4 March.‎Travel BriefingIn a preliminary vote count on 1 March, Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) won 40 out of 80 districts. Former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili (in office 1998-2012)’s opposition Democratic Congress (DC) is in second place with 33 constituencies, while the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) is in third place with two districts. Although voting passed off peacefully, if the results are contested – particularly given Thabane’s expected win – this could prompt a violent response from the LCD and possibly a standoff between rival factions of the highly politicised security forces. Other potential triggers for a deterioration in the security environment include actual or attempted assassinations or spontaneous unrest.However, several factors reduce the likelihood of any significant deterioration. Neighbouring South Africa is supervising the political situation, and could bring significant external influence to bear, while several high-profile security force figures are also on an enforced ‘leave of absence’, impairing their ability to mobilise violence. Members on essential travel in Maseru should continue to minimise unnecessary movement and avoid flashpoint locations such as political rally venues, government buildings and military and police barracks.BackgroundPolitical tensions in the country have been heightened since an apparent failed attempt to overthrow Thabane in August 2014. Wider unrest was avoided by a regionally brokered peace deal, with national elections brought forward by two years to February 2015. Relations between Thabane and his rival, Deputy Prime Minister Mothejoa Metsing of the LCD, appear to have become irreconcilable. It is likely the LCD accepted the peace deal with the expectation that it could win the election.Violence has long been part of Lesotho’s political culture; since achieving independence in 1966, the country has experienced at least six coup attempts, several assassinations, alleged torture of political figures and outbreaks of election-related violence. Notwithstanding the foiled coup attempt in 2014, the most significant crisis occurred in 1998, when more than 50 people, including eight South African peacekeepers, were killed in the aftermath of a disputed election.Travel Advice Summary

  • As a precautionary measure we advise against non-essential travel to Maseru until further notice. Members intending to visit should continue to monitor our updates for any change in the advice or liaise with your nearest Assistance Centre. Travel to the remainder of the country can continue.
  • Expatriates or members on long-term assignments in Maseru are not required to leave the city. However, members should minimise unnecessary movement or consider working remotely from secure accommodation until the outcome of the elections is known and the situation has normalised.
  • Members remaining in Maseru should identify and avoid areas that could be vulnerable to violence, including political rallies, key government buildings, public broadcasting offices, military and police barracks, and low-income areas more generally.
  • There is a potential for low-level armed clashes between rival factions of the security forces. If you hear gunshots or fighting is reported in your vicinity, remain in secure and neutral accommodation and avoid movement until the situation has calmed.
  • Be alert to signs of volatility on the streets; in the event of unrest or armed clashes, relocate to a neutral venue located away from flashpoint areas.

 

2 Mar 2015

Egypt: Urban centres: Explosion at High Court in Cairo underscores persistent risk from militancy

Health Ministry officials reported that at least 11 people were injured on 2 March in an explosion around midday at the main entrance of the High Court of Justice building on Ramses Street in the centre of the capital Cairo. Initial reports that one person was killed were retracted, though one of the injured is in critical condition. Following the blast, the security forces cordoned off the area and reportedly defused a second device in the area. The little-known ‘Revolutionary Punishment’ group claimed responsibility on social media for the attack, which reportedly targeted a security force checkpoint.Earlier, at least two people were killed and five injured on 1 March when an explosive device detonated outside a police station in Aswan (Aswan governorate). These incidents underscore the persistent risks posed by militancy in Egypt and the need for security precautions when undertaking travel to the country.Travel BriefingThe authorities are likely to institute increased security measures in the aftermath of security incidents, including temporary road closures, movement restrictions and additional checkpoints. Travellers should carry relevant identification to ease passage during spot checks and at checkpoints, and treat all members of the security forces with patience and respect.Militancy has increased nationwide since the military’s removal of then-president Mohammed Morsi (2012-13), and bombings occur periodically throughout the country, including in Cairo. Various militant groups have claimed responsibility for attacks, including the Sinai-based Sinai Province (formerly Ansar Beit-al-Maqdis) and Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt), though attacks by radicialised individuals are also possible. The authorities routinely blame the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement for incidents.Most incidents involve crude, low-level devices, target the security forces and government personnel and assets, and take place in the evening or early morning. However, attacks may occur in public areas, such as main squares and civilian areas, and metro and train stations have also occasionally been targeted, posing significant incidental risks to those in the vicinity. Members should minimise time spent in the vicinity of likely targets, including police stations, government buildings, security force personnel and convoys, as well as metro and overground train stations.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Egypt can continue with standard security precautions.
  • Expect heightened security measures in the aftermath of security incidents, particularly those occurring in the urban areas of Cairo and Giza. 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, as well as metro and train stations. 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.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour or objects to the authorities.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; see our Standing Travel Advice for further information.

 

25 Feb 2015

Kenya: Nairobi: Avoid University of Nairobi campus due to potential for further violent protests by studentsMembers in the capital Nairobi should plan routes avoiding the University of Nairobi due to the potential for violent student protests. Local media sources reported that students stoned vehicles along Waiyaki Way on 24 February and engaged in running battles with the security forces. The unrest is in protest against the killing of a student, who was fatally struck by a matatu (minibus) taxi last week and later died in hospital. Related gatherings are liable to turn violent at short notice; if you encounter a crowd of protesters, vacate the area immediately and return to secure office buildings or accommodation until the situation is contained.Travel Advice

  • Further protests are anticipated in the near term and members planning to travel between Nairobi’s central business district and the western suburbs should plan routes that avoid the University of Nairobi campus until tensions subside. Consider routes through Kilimani as an alternative.
  • Related gatherings are liable to turn violent at short notice, with students engaging in vandalism and opportunistic crime. If you encounter a crowd of protesters, vacate the area immediately and return to secure office buildings or accommodation until the security forces have contained the situation.
  • Liaise with local contacts and monitor our travel security alerts on Kenya for updates. Refer to the social unrest section of our Kenya travel security guide for further information.

 

24 Feb 2015

Venezuela: Urban centres: Further demonstrations over police killing of teen in San Cristobal likely in coming hours, days; avoid all protests (Revised 23.30 GMT)Travellers should anticipate and avoid protests in urban centres nationwide in the coming hours and days in response to the police killing of a 14-year old in San Cristobal (Tachira state) during an anti-government protest. Demonstrations can be expected to continue throughout San Cristobal, particularly in the vicinity of the Universidad Católica del Tachira (UCAT), and these are likely to degenerate into unrest.Related protests at the Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacín (URBE) in Maracaibo (Zulia state) resulted in clashes between students and the security forces. Several students were reportedly injured, and at least 30 students were detained by the security forces. While the situation has normalised in the vicinity of the URBE, the security environment remains volatile; travellers should avoid all protests due to the credible risk of violence and detentions by the security forces.Travel Advice

  • Strictly avoid all demonstrations due to the credible risk of violence. If protesters or the security forces begin to congregate, vacate the area immediately and move to a secure location.
  • If movement is essential, check the status of routes and destinations with trusted local contacts prior to undertaking any overland travel. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks as this may provoke a hostile response from protesters or the security forces. If you encounter a blockade, turn around and seek another route to your destination.
  • Travel to Venezuela should be for essential purposes only. If travel is essential, ensure that you are fully confident in your security, transport and accommodation arrangements and briefed on the prevailing risks prior to deployment. Be alert and plan for operational difficulties you are likely to encounter in the country, including the scarcity of food and other basic goods.
  • The above advice is not exhaustive; seek itinerary- and profile-specific advice prior to travel in Venezuela.

 

20 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Somalia: Mogadishu: Avoid vicinity of Central hotel following explosions, gunfireExplosions and gunfire have been reported on 20 February at the Central Hotel in the Hamarweyne district of the capital Mogadishu. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the deputy prime minister and the transport minister have been injured, while 20 people have been killed. The hotel appears to have been targeted by a car bomb. Details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Staff near the site of the attack should stand fast. Avoid the area until the situation has fully stabilised.
  • Liaise with your local security provider regarding the feasibility of movement in the area.
  • Comply with all directives issued by the security forces.
  • Expect heightened security, including checkpoints in the area following the incident.
  • Monitor our updates and liaise with local contacts to keep abreast of further developments.

 

20 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Venezuela: Caracas: Mayor’s detention sparks anti-government protests; minimise movement overnightAnti-government protests to denounce the arrest of Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of the capital Caracas and prominent opposition member, were ongoing in the capital’s Plaza Venezuela late on 19 February. While there have been no reports of unrest so far, any opposition gathering carries a credible risk of clashes between activists and the security forces; members should avoid all related protests. Hundreds of activists and large numbers of security forces were reported at the scene; the demonstration began at approximately 19.00 (local time).The protests were organised via social media in response to the detention of Ledezma by members of SEBIN, the state intelligence agency, earlier in the day. The heavily armed SEBIN officers fired several shots into the air before forcefully taking Ledezma from his office. The government has accused Ledezma of being involved in an alleged coup plot. Additional demonstrations are possible elsewhere in Caracas overnight on 19-20 February and in urban centres nationwide in coming days.Travel BriefingAnti-government protests are expected to increase in the coming days in response to the detainment of Ledezma and over other political and social grievances. The government’s coup allegations suggest that the authorities will use tough measures to disperse any unruly gatherings. The security forces are authorised to use firearms and tear gas to control demonstrations and lethal force could be employed in the event of unrest. Although foreigners are unlikely to be targeted, the use of firearms during protests underscores the significant incidental risks faced by bystanders.Clashes can occur anywhere and at any time, though precedent indicates that violence is particularly likely in Caracas and San Cristobal (Tachira state). Members should strictly avoid known protest locations as a precaution and refrain from attempting to cross blockades, as this could elicit a hostile response from protesters and/or the security forces. Travellers should liaise with trusted local contacts to ensure that routes are clear of protests and roadblocks prior to departing.Violent crime poses the main risk to foreigners. To minimise the risk of falling victim to crime, members should avoid displays of wealth, wearing jewellery or carrying valuables such as laptops or expensive cameras. Business travellers should not self-drive due to the risk of kidnap and carjacking. If accosted, assume that assailants are armed and do nothing to resist or antagonise them.Travel Advice

  • Minimise movement overnight in Caracas on 19-20 February as a precaution. Avoid all demonstrations due to the credible risk of violence. If protesters or the security forces begin to congregate, vacate the area immediately and move to a secure location.
  • If movement is essential, check the status of routes and destinations with trusted local contacts prior to undertaking any overland travel. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks as this may provoke a hostile response from demonstrators and/or the security forces. If you encounter a blockade, turn around and seek another route to your destination.
  • Travel to Venezuela should be for essential business only. If travel is essential, ensure that you are fully confident in your security, transport and accommodation arrangements and briefed on the prevailing risks prior to deployment. Be alert and plan for operational difficulties you are likely to encounter in the country, including the scarcity of food and other basic goods.
  • The above advice is not exhaustive; seek itinerary- and profile-specific advice prior to travel in Venezuela.

 

19 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Australia: South-eastern Queensland: Defer non-essential travel to areas under cyclone warnings; Severe Cyclone Marcia to make landfall early on 20 FebruarySevere Tropical Cyclone Marcia is forecast to make landfall as a category 5 storm – the highest on a five-category scale – early on 20 February near St Lawrence, between Mackay and Gladstone (all Queensland state). The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a cyclone warning from Bowen to Double Island Point (both Queensland), where wind gusts of up to 183 miles per hour (295kph) are possible.The cyclone is also expected to bring up to 15 inches (40cm) of rainfall in the next 24-36 hours between Gladstone and the Gold Coast, including the state capital Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Flash flooding is therefore very likely in low-lying areas along the coast, which will be exacerbated by king tides.Transport and essential servicesMackay Airport (MKY) has been closed and flights have been suspended at Rockhampton (ROK), Gladstone (GLT), Bundaberg (BDB) and Hervey Bay (HVB) airports. Further cancellations should be anticipated in the coming hours at these and other airports along the coast, including Sunshine Coast (MCY), Brisbane (BNE) and Gold Coast (OOL) airports.Strong winds have disrupted electricity supply in parts of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast; widespread power outages can be expected over the next 12-24 hours, particularly between Mackay and Gladstone.Travel AdviceAhead of, during the cyclone

  • Defer non-essential travel to locations under an official cyclone warning. Monitor the BOM website and Queensland’s Disaster Management Services website for up-to-date information, advice and warnings, and be prepared to respond accordingly.
  • Members in locations that will be affected by the storm should shelter in a safe place during the approach and passage of the storm. Follow all directives from emergency personnel. Prepare appropriate clothing and a grab bag with essentials such as a torch, water and high-energy foods in case an emergency relocation becomes necessary.
  • There is a high threat of flooding from storm surges, and those living in low-lying coastal areas should take this into account; stay away from rivers and other bodies of water, which are susceptible to flooding. Secure boats and property.
  • Disruption to essential services, such as electricity supply, is expected due to heavy rainfall and strong winds. Charge all communication devices and, where feasible, keep extra batteries for back-up.

Following the passage of the storm

  • If planning to travel in areas affected by the passage of the storm, reconfirm flight and other transport bookings with the relevant service providers. We do not hold information on specific flights.
  • Roads may be blocked by debris and uprooted trees. After the storm has abated, reconfirm the status of routes before setting out by consulting the Queensland Traffic and Travel Information website, or calling 13 19 40.
  • Avoid floodwaters, which may be electrically charged due to underground or fallen power lines. Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded road ahead, turn around and find another route to your destination.

 

18 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Rawalpindi: Avoid vicinity of Kurri Road on 18 February following explosion, reports of gunfireGunfire is reportedly ongoing on 18 February at an imambargah (Shia Muslim congregation hall) on Kurri Road, in Rawalpindi (Punjab province). At least seven people have reportedly been injured in a suspected suicide bombing.Travel Advice

  • Account for all staff.
  • Avoid the vicinity of Kurri road till the situation clarifies.
  • If in the affected area, stand fast in a secure location until the situation stabilises. Follow all instructions issued by the authorities.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Pakistan for related updates.

 

17 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Pul-i-Alam: Avoid police headquarters due to ongoing militant attackReports on 17 February indicate that a militant attack in ongoing on the police headquarters in Pul-i-Alam, the capital of Logar province. At least two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at the entrance to the premises, following which other militants reportedly entered the building and are currently engaged in a gunfight with the security forces. Further details are still emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for all staff and avoid the vicinity of the police headquarters in Pul-i-Alam until the situation clarifies.
  • If in the affected area, stand fast in a secure location until the situation stabilises. Comply with all directives issued by the security forces.
  • Liaise with your local security provider regarding feasibility of essential movement.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Afghanistan for related updates.

 

17 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Lahore: Avoid vicinity of suspected suicide bombing in Qila Gujjar Singh areaAt least eight people were reportedly killed in an explosion on 17 February near a hotel near Police Lines in the Qila Gujjar Singh area of Lahore (Punjab province). Initial reports suggested that the explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber. The blast also damaged nearby buildings and cars parked in the vicinity. The security forces have cordoned off the area.Travel Advice

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

 

17 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Japan: Tsunami advisory for Iwate prefecture cancelled; no damage reported following strong offshore earthquake (Revised 17 Feb)The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) cancelled a tsunami advisory for Iwate prefecture at 10.20 (local time) on 17 February; the advisory had been issued following a magnitude 6.8 offshore earthquake, which occurred at 08.06. According to the JMA, the tremblor struck approximately 130 miles (210km) east of the city of Miyako (Iwate) and caused tidal surges of around 4 inches (10cm) at 08.47. There were no reports of damage or injuries.Travel BriefingThere is no longer a threat of a tsunami, though aftershocks of varying magnitudes are possible in the coming hours and may result in localised disruption. Japan is prone to earthquakes as it is situated on one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Members should adhere to the directives of the authorities during all earthquakes and tsunami advisories.Travel Advice Summary

  • Normal travel can continue.
  • Abide by all directives issued by the local authorities in the affected areas.
  • Aftershocks of varying magnitudes are possible and could pose a risk to life and property.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Japan for any related developments.

 

15 Feb 2015

Special Advisory – Denmark: Copenhagen: Monitor developments, expect heightened security following fatal shootings (Revised 09.40 GMT)Members in the capital Copenhagen should anticipate heightened security and follow all directives issued by the authorities following fatal shootings on 14-15 February in which two civilians were killed and five police officers were injured. The police said that they killed the perpetrator of the attacks following a shoot-out at around 05.00 (local time) on 15 February near the Norrebro train station in the north-western Norrebro district of the capital. The authorities also believe that the suspect acted alone in the shootings.One person was killed and three police officers injured when up to 40 shots were fired at around 15.30 on 14 February at the Krudttoenden café in the Fælledparken area while a meeting on freedom of expression was under way. The meeting was being attended by the controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks and the French ambassador to Denmark; both men were unhurt. The incident was followed by another shooting incident at around 01.00 on 15 February at a synagogue in the Krystalgade area; one person was killed and two police officers were injured. The police subsequently launched a manhunt, which ended with the shoot-out in Norrebro.Travel Briefing While travel to Copenhagen can continue, heightened security, including checkpoints, should be expected in the city as further investigations into the attacks continue. Members should carry relevant identification documents to ease passage through any spot-checks and follow all instructions issued by the police. Although the motive behind the shootings has not been confirmed, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt termed the shooting at the Krudttoenden café a terrorist attack. Media reports have drawn attention to the presence at the meeting of Vilks, who had previously received death threats from Islamist extremists for drawing caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.The country is a potential target for terrorist attacks, partly because of the controversial publication in 2005-06 of a series of cartoons depicting the prophet by a Danish newspaper. However, the country has good counter-terrorism capabilities, which have mitigated the threat of attacks. As indicated by the latest incidents, there remains a potential for ‘lone-wolf’ attacks on government buildings or ‘soft’ civilian targets rather than a large-scale strike. The risk of such attacks is higher in Copenhagen due to the concentration of such targets there. Members should remain alert to their surroundings and report any suspicious behaviour to the authorities.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Copenhagen can continue.
  • Avoid the Fælledparken, Krystalgade and Norrebro areas while police investigations continue; carry relevant identification documents to ease passage though checkpoints and follow all directives issued by the police.
  • Remain alert to your surroundings and report any suspicious behaviour to the authorities.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Denmark for further updates.

 

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