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Indonesia Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jul 23, 2003

This Travel Warning alerts U.S. citizens to new security threats in Indonesia related to the outbreak of active hostilities in Aceh province between the Indonesian military and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), and it reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing terrorist threats in Indonesia. U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to Indonesia. This supersedes the April 25, 2003, Travel Warning for Indonesia.

On May 19, 2003, the Indonesian government declared martial law in Aceh and launched significant military operations in response to the ongoing separatist conflict between the Indonesian military and the GAM. The Indonesian government has warned all foreigners to leave Aceh and gave notice that this conflict could result in terrorist attacks throughout Indonesia, particularly in urban areas where security forces are on a higher state of alert. Because of the hostilities, at least one foreigner was killed and one wounded by security forces. American citizens are strongly urged to avoid traveling to Aceh and those already present should leave immediately.

Bali, Indonesia, was the scene of a major terrorist attack in October 2002, and the potential remains for violence and terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests. The Jemaah Islamiyah organization, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, is an extremist group known to have cells operating in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and is known to have connections with Al-Qaeda. The terrorist attack in Bali, which took place in an area with a large number of foreign tourists, clearly indicates that a security threat extends to private American citizens. The U.S. Government believes extremist elements may be planning additional attacks targeting U.S. interests in Indonesia, particularly U.S. Government officials and facilities. As security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists will seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans and Westerners are known to live, congregate, shop, or visit, especially hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping centers, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events. Throughout Indonesia, bombings have been an ongoing problem over the past two and a half years, and have struck religious, political, and business targets. In April 2003, the Jakarta international airport was bombed. Americans should avoid political demonstrations, which have the potential to turn violent. In the border areas near Malaysia and the Philippines, there is a risk of kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

There is potential for violence and unrest; both can erupt without warning. There are threats, including the possibility of terrorist activity, throughout Indonesia. Sectarian, ethnic, communal (inter/intra group) and separatist strife, and violence are ongoing threats to personal safety and security in various areas, including Maluku, North Maluku, Sulawesi, Papua and West Timor. Papua's separatist conflict can become violent. In August 2002, two U.S. citizens were killed near Timika in circumstances that have raised suspicions of official involvement.

Americans who travel to or reside in Indonesia despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, remaining acutely aware of their immediate environment. The U.S. Mission in Indonesia may occasionally suspend service to the public, or close, because of security concerns. In these situations, the Embassy and Consulate will continue to provide emergency services to American citizens.

Information on travel and security in Indonesia may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States; from overseas, call 1-317-472-2328. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta can be contacted by phone at (62)(21) 3435-9000, the Consulate General in Surabaya's number is (62) (31) 568-2287, and the Consular Agency in Bali's number is (62) (361) 233-605.

U.S. citizens should also read the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement. All are available at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and on the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site, http://travel.state.gov.

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