Indonesia Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Jan 14, 2005
This Travel Warning advises American Citizens to avoid tsunami-damaged areas of Indonesia, provides information for humanitarian workers considering travel to Indonesia, updates information on the security situation, and reminds travelers of the ongoing terrorist threat for Indonesia. The Department of State continues to recommend that Americans defer all non-essential travel to Indonesia. This warning supersedes the December 17, 2004, Travel Warning and the December 27, 2004 Public Announcement for Indonesia.
The Department urges Americans who choose to travel to Indonesia despite this Travel Warning to observe vigilant personal security precautions; to remain aware of the continued potential for terrorist attacks against Americans, U.S. or other Western interests in Indonesia; and to register with U.S. Embassy Jakarta, U.S. Consulate General Surabaya or the U.S. Consular Agent in Bali. Registration facilitates the U.S. Mission's contact with Americans in emergency situations. Americans in Indonesia should maintain a low profile, vary daily routines, avoid crowds and demonstrations, and keep abreast of local news and developments that may affect the security situation.
The Department reminds Americans that the terrorist threat in Indonesia continues. Reports indicate that terrorists are planning attacks against a wide variety of targets. These attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against any location, including those frequented by foreigners and identifiably American or other western facilities or businesses in Indonesia. The potential remains for violence and terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the country. The Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist group has cells in several Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, and connections with al-Qaeda. A terrorist bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on September 9, 2004, killed eleven and injured more than 180 people. An August 2003 terrorist bombing at a major international hotel in Jakarta injured several American citizens, and seven Americans died in a terrorist attack in Denspasar, Bali in October 2002. The U.S. government continues to receive information that JI and other extremist groups might be planning additional attacks against U.S. and other Western interests in Indonesia.
Travelers should be aware that since security has increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists could seek "softer" targets. Such targets could include but are not limited to places where Americans and other Westerners live, congregate, shop or visit, including hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping centers, identifiably Western businesses, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, or public recreation events.
The U.S. Mission in Indonesia restricts U.S. government employees' travel to certain areas of the country and, at times, denies them permission to travel to Indonesia. For the latest security information, contact a U.S. Mission consular office. The U.S. Mission can occasionally suspend service to the public, or close, because of security concerns; in these situations, it will continue to provide emergency services to American citizens.
Sectarian, ethnic, communal and separatist violence continue to threaten personal safety and security in several areas. Over the past three years, domestically targeted bombings 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.
Americans should avoid travel to Aceh. Northern parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and particularly the province of Aceh, suffered severe damage following an earthquake and series of tsunami waves on December 26, 2004. The Government of Indonesia has declared a National Disaster and has mobilized civilian and military assistance to the affected areas. Communications infrastructure, roads, medical care and tourist facilities on the western and northern coasts of Sumatra, and on coastal islands off Sumatra, have been damaged and in some cases completely destroyed. Indonesia restricts foreigners' travel to Aceh. Indonesia replaced martial law in Aceh with a state of civil emergency on May 19, 2004,however, Aceh's security situation remains highly uncertain. Humanitarian workers should be cautious of their security when traveling in Aceh due to the continuing potential for separatist violence.
Americans should not travel to Aceh to participate in humanitarian relief efforts except under the auspices of a recognized assistance organization that has permission to operate in Indonesia. Americans participating in relief efforts should make sure that their organization has facilities in place to accommodate and feed staff and a security plan approved by Indonesian authorities. All travelers to Aceh should follow health precautions for travelers to the tsunami area from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel.
Americans considering travel to the province of Papua should exercise extreme caution because of sectarian, ethnic, communal and separatist strife. Papua's on-going separatist conflict has the potential to become violent. In August 2002, two Americans were killed in Papua under as yet unresolved circumstances.
Americans should avoid travel to Maluku, in particular the capital city of Ambon. Since April 25, 2004, sectarian violence has killed at least 40 and injured more than 220 people.
Americans should avoid travel to Central, South and Southeast Sulawesi; those considering travel to North Sulawesi should exercise extreme caution. Sporadic violence occurred in Poso and in neighboring areas of Central Sulawesi in 2003 and 2004, resulting in several fatalities. Central Sulawesi's general security situation remains unstable; bombings and killings occurred in late 2004 in Poso and Palu.
The Philippine-based terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group poses an ongoing kidnapping risk/threat in areas near Malaysia and the Philippines.
Americans can obtain information on travel and security in Indonesia from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States; or 1-317-472-2328 from overseas. Americans also can call the Embassy in Jakarta at (62)(21) 3435-9000, the Consulate General in Surabaya at (62) (31) 295-6400, and the Consular Agent in Bali at (62) (361) 233-605. American citizens should read the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia and latest Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, both available at http://travel.state.gov.