US Issues Travel Alert to Ethiopia
The United States is warning Americans to exercise caution when traveling to Ethiopia before and after national elections in May.
The U.S. State Department noted Tuesday that past elections in Ethiopia have turned violent, especially in the days after poll results are announced.
It urged U.S. citizens to avoid political rallies, polling places on election day, and demonstrations.
The May 23 parliamentary elections will be Ethiopia’s first national polls since 2005, when disputed results triggered protests and post-election violence. Security forces killed nearly 200 people during demonstrations that followed those polls.
Last month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his government is committed to making this year’s elections peaceful, democratic, and truthful.
The U.S. State Department also reminded Americans Tuesday to exercise caution when traveling to Ethiopia’s border areas with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. It said Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in remote regions.
Ethiopia: Travel Alert
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Ethiopia before and after national parliamentary elections scheduled for May 23, 2010, and recommends against all but essential travel to Ethiopia during this period. This Travel Alert expires on July 1, 2010.
Past elections in Ethiopia have featured violence in Addis Ababa and other areas of the country throughout the campaign season, the election, and especially in the days and weeks following the announcement of election results. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 21, 2010.
U.S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Ethiopia during this period are reminded to maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind. U.S. citizens should avoid polling places on election day, and be aware that authorities will strictly enforce specific prohibitions such as photography at polling stations. U.S. citizens are advised to monitor the situation via local media sources and the Internet. Significant traffic congestion, shortages of lodging availability, and large crowds throughout the country, particularly in Addis Ababa, are likely to inconvenience travelers. In addition, telephone services may be disrupted, as occurred during the 2005 elections.
Travelers also are reminded that extremists from Somalia and the heavy military buildup along Ethiopia’s northern border pose risks to safety and security, particularly along Ethiopia’s borders and in the Somali region. In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions. For additional information, please see the most recent Country Specific Information for Ethiopia on our web site at www.travel.state.gov.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ethiopia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration web site to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ethiopia. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
U.S. Embassy Ethiopia
Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa
Emergency after-hours telephone: 251-11-517-4000 ext. 0
Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
Source : Nazret