United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
October 02, 2008
This Travel Warning updates U.S. citizens to security concerns in Sudan. The Department of State continues to warn against all travel to Sudan due to the threats from armed conflicts and from terrorism. American citizens who choose to remain in Sudan should review their security posture, and take appropriate precautions in light of the January 2008 murder of two American Embassy employees and ongoing violence in many regions of the country. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Sudan issued on March 14, 2008.
On January 1, 2008, two American Embassy employees were assassinated while traveling in their vehicle in Khartoum. In May 2008, the city of Omdurman, adjacent to Khartoum, was attacked by armed militias. The Embassy has implemented heightened security measures to protect Embassy personnel when traveling in Sudan, which include obtaining advance permission for all travel and modes of transportation to be used. American citizens residing in Sudan are urged to carefully review and assess their safety and security situations, take appropriate security precautions, and to practice situational awareness at all times to ensure personal safety.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Sudan, particularly in the Darfur area, where violence between government forces and various armed militias continues. Americans and other westerners have been victims of carjacking and armed robbery while traveling in Sudan. Land travel at night should be avoided.
Travelers are reminded that the U.S. Government has received indications of terrorist threats aimed at American and western interests in Sudan. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or kidnappings. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, which include tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, and commercial operations associated with U.S. or western interests. Anti-western demonstrations periodically occur, mostly in the capital city of Khartoum.
Travel anywhere in Sudan, including Khartoum and the adjacent town of Omdurman, is potentially dangerous. Sporadic violence instigated by militias has occurred in South Sudan. Militia forces have also attacked locations in the south. Threats have been made against foreigners working in the oil industry in Upper Nile state.
Enforcement of aviation safety standards in Sudan is uneven; civil aviation in Sudan continues to experience air incidents and accidents, including five crashes with at least 64 fatalities between November 8, 2007, and September 21, 2008. Incidents included engine failures, collapsed landing gear, and planes veering off the runway. In August, 2008, a domestic plane originating in Nyala, Darfur was hijacked and forced to land in Libya.
Whenever possible, Americans traveling to Sudan despite the ongoing travel warning are advised to travel directly to their destinations on international carriers from countries whose civil aviation authorities meet international aviation safety standards for the oversight of their air carrier operations under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
Americans who travel to Sudan despite this Travel Warning must possess a valid passport with at least six months of validity and a Sudanese visa. Travelers must apply for a visa in their own country of residence. In August 2006, five foreigners, including two Americans, were arrested and detained in Darfur after entering Sudan via the Chadian border town of Banal without the appropriate documentation. Several of these individuals had solicited and obtained escorts in Chad who allegedly promised to facilitate entry into Sudan but who were ultimately unable to follow through with their commitments. Without appropriate travel documents and permits, travelers may face arrest and detention for crimes including illegal entry, publication of false information, and espionage. If convicted, sentences range from deportation to life in prison or the death penalty.
The Sudanese Government requires that anyone seeking to travel outside a 25 kilometer radius of Khartoum obtain a special travel permit. The Government has placed additional permit requirements for travel to Darfur. This includes humanitarian workers, journalists, photographers, and other media employees. Separate additional permits are required to take photographs, even for private use, and to conduct journalism anywhere in Sudan. Additional information about entry requirements for Sudan and other countries is located on the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov.
U.S. citizens are strongly urged to register with the Embassy in Khartoum or through the State Department’s Travel Registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Sharia Ali Abdul Latif, Khartoum; tel. (249-183) 774-701/2/3 (outside Sudan); tel. (0183) 774-701/2/3 (inside Sudan.) For after-hours emergencies, please call 249-183-774-700 and ask to be connected to the Duty Officer.
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