United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
November 13, 2007
This Travel Warning updates information for U.S. citizens about the security situation in Somalia. This supersedes the Travel Warning of June 5, 2006.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Somalia, including the self-proclaimed “independent Republic of Somaliland.” Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting can flare up with little warning. Kidnapping, murder, and other threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners can occur unpredictably in many regions. Armed conflict among rival militias has occurred in southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu, which has resulted in the deaths of numerous Somali nationals.
In December 2006, Ethiopian military forces entered Somalia in support of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) deployed troops to Somalia in March 2007. As of October 2007, both Ethiopian and AMISOM forces remained in Somalia.
Extremist elements and a limited number of al-Qaeda linked operatives continue to maintain a presence in southern Somalia and have launched attacks against high ranking TFG officials and Ethiopian forces. There is no U.S. Embassy or other U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia. The U.S. government cannot provide services to U.S. citizens in Somalia.
In late 2003 and early 2004, violent and deadly attacks targeted foreigners in the self-declared “Republic of Somaliland” in northern Somalia. The Sanaag and Sool Regions in eastern Somaliland, bordering on Puntland (northeastern Somalia), are subject to insecurity due to recent inter-clan fighting. In past years, there also have been several fatal attacks against international relief workers, including Westerners, throughout Somalia and Somaliland. Serious fighting between armed militia groups and pro-Somali security forces continues in the Mogadishu area and in the districts of Gedo and Bay (especially the vicinity of Baidoa) in the south.
Territorial control in the Mogadishu area is divided among numerous clans and militia groups; lines of control are unclear and frequently shift, making movement within this area extremely hazardous.
U.S. citizens are urged to use extreme caution when sailing near the coast of Somalia. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure by pirates and having their crews held for ransom, especially in the waters off the Horn of Africa. There have been numerous such incidents, highlighting the continuing danger of maritime travel near the Horn of Africa. The international waters near Somalia have become the preferred venue for these pirate attacks. If transit around the Horn of Africa is necessary, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications contact at all times.
U.S. citizens who plan to travel to Somalia despite this Travel Warning are urged to register through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov and obtain updated information on travel and security from the U.S. Embassies in neighboring countries. Travelers to the self-declared “Republic of Somaliland” should register with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, and travelers to Puntland or southern Somalia should register with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is located at Plateau du Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti City; telephone (253) 35-39-95; after-hours telephone number (253) 35-13-43. The mailing address is Ambassade Americaine, B.P. 185, Djibouti, Republique de Djibouti, and their workweek is Sunday through Thursday. The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (254)(20) 363-6000; after-hours emergencies (254)(20) 363-6170. The mailing address is P.O. Box 606 Village Market 00621, Nairobi, Kenya.
U.S. citizens also should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Somalia, the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, and the East Africa Travel Alert, which are located on the Department’s internet website at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.
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