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Indonesia Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 22, 2004

This Travel Warning is being issued to update security threat information for Indonesia. The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens of the ongoing terrorist threat in Indonesia and continues to recommend that U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel to Indonesia. This supersedes the August 28, 2003, Travel Warning for Indonesia.

The Department of State has determined that the current and projected security situation in Indonesia warrant the continued recommendation that U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel to Indonesia. American citizens already in Indonesia are strongly urged to avoid traveling to Aceh, and those in Aceh should leave immediately.

Indonesia will hold legislative elections on April 5, 2004, a presidential election on July 5, 2004, and a possible presidential runoff election on September 20, 2004. Election-related violence/attacks are possible and U.S. citizens are reminded that they should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, which could turn violent. The Jemaah Islamiyah organization (JI) and/or other similar terrorist groups may use these elections as opportune occasions to carry out attacks.

Because there are several active terrorist groups within Indonesia, the potential remains for violence and terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests throughout Indonesia. American citizens were injured or killed in terrorist bombings at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on August 5, 2003, and at Denpasar, Bali on October 12, 2002. JI's terrorist attacks in Jakarta and Bali, which took place in areas with large numbers of foreign tourists, clearly indicate that a security threat extends to private U.S. citizens. Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, JI is an extremist group known to have cells operating in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and has connections with Al-Qaeda.

The U.S. government continues to believe extremist groups may be planning additional attacks targeting U.S. interests in Indonesia, particularly U.S. government officials and facilities. Since security has been increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists may seek "softer" targets. These may include, but are not limited to, facilities where Americans and other 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. Also, domestically targeted bombings have been an ongoing problem throughout Indonesia over the past three years and have struck religious, political, and business targets. In 2003, the Jakarta international airport, an open-air concert in Aceh, and other Indonesian government facilities were bombed.

Indonesia instituted martial law in Aceh on May 19, 2003, and subsequently launched significant military operations against a separatist rebel group, the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Aside from the military violence, individual violence has increased markedly. 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. The Department of State continues to strongly urge U.S. citizens in Aceh to depart immediately.

In addition to terrorism, there is potential for violence and unrest; both can erupt without warning. Sectarian, ethnic, communal (inter- or 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. In 2004, bombs have killed and injured people in Manado, North Sulawesi and Makassar, South Sulawesi. Social tensions flared in Poso and in neighboring areas of Central Sulawesi during October-November 2003, resulting in 19 fatalities. Papua's separatist conflict can become violent. In August 2002, two U.S. citizens were killed in Papua under circumstances that have raised suspicions of official involvement. Also, there is a risk of kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the border areas near Malaysia and the Philippines.

Americans who travel to or remain in Indonesia despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, and remain 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. American citizens should also read the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement; both are available on our web site, http://travel.state.gov.

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