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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Somalia

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O 201528Z MAY 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 0523
INFO RUESBKC/ATO ASIA IMMEDIATE 1664

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 053566

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC KPAO PTER AF PREL KE
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING - SOMALIA

1. This Travel Warning updates information on the
unsettled security situation in Somalia and continues to
urge American citizens not to travel to the country. This
supersedes the Travel Warning of November 13, 2007.

2. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against
all travel to Somalia, including the self-proclaimed
"Republic of Somaliland," since there is no U.S. Embassy
or other U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia.
Consequently, the U.S. Government is not in a position to
assist or effectively provide services to U.S. citizens in
Somalia.

3. Kidnapping, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and
other violent incidents and threats to U.S. citizens and
other foreigners can occur in many regions. Inter-clan
and inter-factional fighting flares up with little
warning. Unpredictable armed conflict among rival
militias is prevalent in southern Somalia, particularly in
and around Mogadishu, which has resulted in the deaths of
hundreds of Somali nationals and the displacement of
nearly one million people. In December 2006, Ethiopian
military forces entered Somalia in support of the Somali
Transitional Federal Government. The continuing Ethiopian
military presence and support for the Transitional Federal
Government has heightened tensions among rival political
and clan factions within Somalia.

4. The Sanaag and Sool Regions in eastern Somaliland,
bordering on Puntland (northeastern Somalia), are subject
to insecurity due to ongoing border disputes and inter-
clan fighting. There also have been several fatal attacks
and violent kidnappings against international relief
workers, including Westerners, throughout Somalia,
Somaliland, and Puntland. Lines of control in Mogadishu
are unclear and frequently shift, making movement within
this area extremely hazardous. Violent riots have
recently occurred in Mogadishu, as thousands of civilians
protested rising food prices and the devaluation of the
Somali currency.

5. Recently, insurgents and extremist elements opposed to
the Somali government conducted hit-and-run attacks on
several towns in central and southern Somalia, to include
the districts of Gedo and Bay (especially the vicinity of
Baidoa) in the south.

6. U.S. citizens also 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 in the
waters off the Horn of Africa, most especially in the
international waters near Somalia. There have been
numerous such incidents, highlighting the continuing
danger of maritime travel near the Horn of Africa. 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.

7. U.S. citizens who 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.

8. The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is located at Plateau du
Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti City;

STATE 00053566 002 OF 002


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.

9. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of
State's Country Specific Information for Somalia and
Worldwide Caution, 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.

10. Minimize considered.
RICE

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