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East Africa Public Announcement

Issued by U.S. State Department

Aug 31, 2007

This Public Announcement is being re-issued to remind Americans of the continuing potential for terrorist actions against U.S. citizens in East Africa, particularly along the East African coast, to alert Americans to continuing sporadic violence in Somalia, and to note a number of incidents of maritime piracy near the horn of Africa and the southern Red Sea. This supersedes the Public Announcement of January 4, 2007, and expires on February 29, 2008.

A number of Al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around East Africa.  As a result of the recent conflict and continuing tension in Somalia, some of these individuals have sought to relocate elsewhere in the region, and others may seek to do so. Americans considering travel to the region and those already there should review their plans carefully, remain vigilant with regard to their personal security, and exercise caution. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings or targeting maritime vessels. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as hotels, beach resorts, prominent public places, and landmarks. In particular, terrorists may target civil aviation and seaports. Americans in remote areas or border regions where military or police authority is limited or non-existent could also become targets.

Americans considering seaborne travel near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been several incidents of armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom at sea by pirates during the past several years. Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali territorial waters, while others have been hijacked as far as 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in international waters.

The U.S. Government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu, and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys, and maintain good communications contact at all times.

Americans living or traveling in East Africa are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate through the State Departments travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. Americans without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens planning to travel to East Africa should consult the Department of State's country-specific Public Announcements, Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement and other information, available at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

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