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Algeria Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Sep 08, 2003

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated April 9, 2003, and is being issued to alert Americans to ongoing security concerns in Algeria. Americans are warned to avoid travel to the Sahara desert areas of southeastern Algeria and northeastern Mali, where terrorists held 32 Europeans hostage between February and August.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer nonessential travel to Algeria and to evaluate carefully their security and safety if they choose to travel. Over the past several months, the city of Algiers and its immediate suburbs have recorded a drop in the number of terrorist-associated incidents; however, there are continued security concerns. Random terrorist attacks still occur in rural and remote areas, on public transportation outside the major cities, and in some parts of the country at night.

In February 2003, 32 Western Europeans were taken hostage by terrorists in the Sahara desert areas of southeastern Algeria, between the cities of Ouargla and Tamanrasset. Fourteen of the hostages were transported by the terrorists into northern Mali. As of August 20, 2003, one had died in captivity, and all others have been released. We continue to caution U.S. citizens to avoid traveling in this area.

The Department of State cautions Americans who reside or travel in Algeria despite this warning to take prudent security measures while in the country, including arranging for pre-determined local contacts to meet and accompany them upon arrival and departure at Algerian airports. Nighttime and overland travel outside the greater Algiers area should be avoided if possible. Visitors to Algeria are advised to stay only in the large, internationally recognized hotels where security is provided. Americans should arrange for a known Algerian companion to accompany them when moving anywhere in Algeria, whether in the capital city of Algiers or in other cities and rural areas.

U.S. Embassy personnel take all of the precautions mentioned above. Embassy employees and official visitors live on or adjacent to the Embassy compound, or they reside in Embassy-approved hotels. They travel off compound by armored car only, with appropriate security, whether for official business or personal reasons. Employees are permitted to travel outside the capital only for official business and with appropriate security. U.S. oil companies operating in the desert region south of the Saharan Atlas Mountains, as well as Algerian government officials, also take similar security precautions to ensure their safety.

Americans who remain in Algeria are urged to register and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Algeria at the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Algeria. The Embassy is located at 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, B.P. 408 (Alger-Gare) 16000, in the capital city of Algiers. The Embassy can be reached at telephone [213] (21) 691-425/255/186; fax [213] (21) 69-39-79.

For further information on travel to Algeria, please contact the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet on Algeria, the State Department's World Wide Caution Public Announcement and the Middle East and North Africa Update Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.

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