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Liberia Public Announcement

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Oct 01, 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to inform American citizens that the Department of State has lifted the ordered departure status of non-emergency employees at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. However, the Department continues to prohibit dependents from accompanying U.S. Government employees to Liberia. The Department hereby continues to alert U.S. citizens to ongoing safety and security concerns in Liberia and to advise them to defer non-essential travel. This supersedes the Travel Warning of June 6, 2003. The Department of State has determined that the current situation in Liberia warrants lifting of Ordered Departure status for non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. Nonetheless, the Department of State continues to advise U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Liberia. Travel by U.S. Government personnel outside Greater Monrovia requires authorization by the Ambassador and the Regional Security Officer. Private Americans who remain in or travel to Liberia despite this advice should avoid travel into the interior of the country.

While the situation in Monrovia and other areas outside the zones of conflict may appear calm, the situation is unpredictable, and resident Americans are urged to exercise caution in their activities. The international airport near Harbel is currently open and operational and airlines continue their limited flights into and out of Monrovia.

Despite the 18 August 2003 Comprehensive Peace Accord, the deployment of ECOMIL forces, and the authorization of a UN peacekeeping operation (via UNSCR 1509), low-intensity fighting between rebel and government forces, particularly involving irregulars (militias) of the parties to the conflict, continues to flare up in various parts of the countryside. Due to the fighting, principal roads to Sierra Leone and Guinea, and from Monrovia to the western part of the country, are often closed. Travel over these and many other roads has become prohibitively dangerous. There is also a high threat of violent crime in Monrovia and elsewhere.

The general security situation and lack of reliable communications systems in Liberia limit the Embassy's ability to provide assistance to U.S. citizens outside the Monrovia area. In addition, roadblocks established by Liberian government or rebel forces could prevent Embassy vehicles, as well as all other non-military vehicles, from traveling into conflict zones, further preventing our Embassy from providing assistance to Americans in a time of crisis.

U.S. citizens still in Liberia should be aware of their surroundings at all times and use caution in traveling. Travel anywhere after dark is strongly discouraged. Owing to the potential for violence, U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations. In addition, due to conflicts that periodically arise among security forces, U.S. citizens should avoid any gathering of such forces. Americans should report any threats or suspicious activity to the Embassy in Monrovia and monitor the local media for developments that may affect their safety and security.

The U.S. Embassy in Liberia may temporarily close for general business from time to time to review its security posture. Americans who remain in Liberia despite this Travel Warning are strongly urged to register and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Liberia at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at 111 United Nations Drive, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia, telephone (231) 226-370, fax (231) 226-148. Travelers should also consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Liberia and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at travel.state.gov. American citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or Canada, or 317-472-2328 from overseas.

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