Yemen Travel Warning
Issued by U.S. State Department
Sep 19, 2001
The Department of State continues to warn United States citizens to defer travel to Yemen. The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States elevated security concerns for Americans in Yemen that already were high following a number of terrorist actions and kidnapping incidents over the past few years. Previous incidents included the October 2000 attack on a US Navy vessel in port at Aden and the December 1998 kidnapping of Western tourists in southern Yemen. Further, armed tribesmen in Yemen have kidnapped a number of foreigners in attempts to resolve disputes with the Yemeni government.
As a result of these concerns, the Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure from Yemen of the family members of all U.S. Embassy personnel. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa suspended services to the public on September 13 and has not determined a time for resuming those services. Emergency assistance to American citizens will continue to be available through Embassy duty personnel, who can be contacted by telephone at 967-1-303-155.
All American citizens in Yemen are urged to review their personal security situations and to take those actions they deem appropriate to ensure their well-being, including consideration of departure from the country. U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Yemen are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness and to reduce their vulnerability.
Americans in Yemen should also ensure they are registered with the American Embassy in Sanaa, and remain in contact with the Embassy for up to date security information.
On October 12, 2000, 17 American servicemen and women were killed and many more were injured in a terrorist attack on a U.S. Navy ship in port in Aden, Yemen. On December 23, 1998, six extremists were arrested by Yemeni authorities and accused of planning to bomb Western targets in Yemen. Also in December 1998, an anti-Western terrorist group abducted 16 Western tourists in Southern Yemen; four of the tourists were killed during a subsequent clash between the terrorists and Yemeni government forces. On October 1999, following the execution of the leader of the terrorist group responsible for the abduction of these 16 tourists, persons claiming to speak on behalf of the terrorist group warned Westerners they would be attacked if they did not leave Yemen. This threat has not been carried out. Again, as these incidents indicate, the level of risk for foreigners in Yemen remains high.
More than 100 kidnappings have occurred throughout Yemen since 1991. In addition to the one noted above, American citizens were the victims of kidnappings in late October 1999 and January 2000. These kidnappings are mainly conducted by armed tribesmen with grievances against the Yemeni government. They are normally resolved peacefully within a few days, although in rare cases tribesmen have held some foreigners for extended periods. Some kidnappings or attempted kidnappings are initiated by carjacking.
For further general information on travel to Yemen, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Yemen, which is available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen dated August 7, 2001, to note the institution of voluntary departure for family members of Embassy personnel, the suspension of public services, and the increased concern for the security of Americans in Yemen.