Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–June 15, 2015. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Sudan. We urge U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, and to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, and advise U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on October 30, 2014.
While the Government of Sudan has taken steps to limit the activities of terrorist groups, elements of these groups remain in Sudan and have in the past threatened to attack Western interests. 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, including tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, as well as commercial operations associated with U.S. or Western interests. The terrorist threat level throughout Sudan, and particularly in the Darfur region, remains critical, and the U.S. Embassy has implemented enhanced security measures to protect U.S. government personnel assigned to Sudan. These measures include requiring U.S. government personnel to travel in armored vehicles at all times, and to obtain advance permission for travel outside of Khartoum. In addition, family members of U.S. personnel under age 21 are not allowed to reside in Sudan.
U.S. citizens traveling or residing anywhere in Sudan should exercise caution at all times and closely monitor local and international news from reliable sources. Violent flare-ups break out with little notice between and among various armed groups, Sudanese security forces and militias, particularly in the Darfur region, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas that border South Sudan. Inter- and intra- tribal violence and armed acts of banditry are prevalent in these areas. Near the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea, landmines and unmarked minefields are a critical threat. There are occasional clashes with local tribes, particularly those known for weapons and human trafficking, along with the threats of Ethiopian gangs crossing the border to rob people along the highway. Hostilities between Sudanese forces and armed opposition groups present real and immediate dangers to travelers in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, including the disputed area of Abyei. Government security forces may detain U.S. citizens who are in these areas without Sudanese government permission.
Demonstrations occur periodically, mostly in Khartoum and Omdurman. In September 2012, the U.S. Embassy was attacked during a violent protest demonstration and, in September 2013, Khartoum and other urban areas witnessed violent confrontations between authorities and demonstrators protesting economic austerity measures. Smaller demonstrations occur periodically in Khartoum city. Avoid all public demonstrations and political rallies, as even peaceful demonstrations can become violent with little or no warning. Keep a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, exercise care while driving, and ensure that passports and Sudanese visas are always valid and up to date.
The threat of violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings, is particularly high in the Darfur region of Sudan, as the Government of Sudan has taken limited action to deter crime in that region. In addition, tribal militias and armed Darfuri rebel groups are known to have carried out criminal attacks against foreigners. A number of foreign nationals have been kidnapped for ransom by criminal groups in Darfur. Due to the fluid security situation, U.S. government personnel are not authorized to travel to Darfur except to certain areas and with appropriate security precautions.
The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has advised that regional tensions entail the risk of maritime attacks being conducted against vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el Mandeb regions.
MARAD recommends vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or at slow speeds should be especially vigilant, and report suspicious activity. U.S. flag vessels that observe suspicious activity in the area are advised to report such suspicious activity or any hostile or potentially hostile action to COMUSNAVCENT battlewatch captain at phone number 973-1785-3879. Report all suspicious activities and events to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at the following toll free telephone: 1-800-424-8802, direct telephone 202-267-2675, or TDD 202-267-4477. The complete advisory is available on the MARAD website at www.MARAD.DOT.gov.
We recommend that all U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Sudan maintain safe haven plans, as well as plans to evacuate the country on short notice should the situation warrant. If the security situation worsens or if specific threats affecting the safety of U.S. citizens are discovered, we will make this information available through the U.S. Embassy website and by messages communicated through our warden system. Emergency and Security Messages for U.S. Citizens in Sudan can be found on our website.
The ability of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum to provide services to U.S. citizens in emergency situations outside of the Khartoum area is very limited, and dependent on security conditions. The ability to provide assistance is particularly limited in southern regions of Sudan and in Darfur.
Stay informed and get updates by checking the U.S. Embassy website. U.S. citizens can also obtain global updates from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which includes the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Sudan should enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, Travel.State.Gov, to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Sudan. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Keep all information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens in Sudan without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy by completing and submitting a registration form.
The U.S. Embassy is located at U.S. Embassy Road, Kilo 10, Soba, Khartoum. U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information by contacting the Embassy consular section at [email protected], or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website. In the event of an emergency involving a U.S. citizen, contact the Embassy by calling 0187-022-000 (from inside Sudan) or 249 187-022-000 (from outside Sudan) and ask to be connected to the Embassy duty officer.