Relief News

Algeria Travel Warning

Description

August 13, 2014
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Algeria. This replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated February 6, 2014, to update information on the current security situation in Algeria, the continuing threat posed by terrorism, and to reiterate information on security incidents and recommendations on security awareness.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety. There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria. This kidnapping threat was noted in the Department of State's latest Worldwide Caution. Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place. The majority of terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur in areas of the country east and south of Algiers.

Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) are both active in and operate throughout Algeria. In January 2013, an AQIM-linked organization "Those Who Sign in Blood", led by Moktar Belmoktar, attacked a gas production facility near In Amenas, Algeria. The group held dozens of western and Algerian hostages for four days; this attack resulted in the deaths of dozens of hostages, including three U.S. citizens. Mokhtar Belmokhtar remains a threat and is at large in the region.

Algerian and Tunisian security forces are conducting ongoing security operations along the Algeria/Tunisia border in the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras. There is a threat in this area due to the presence of extremists.

The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid overland travel in Algeria. U.S. citizens who reside in or travel to Algeria should take personal security measures to include stocking adequate reserves of medicine, food, and water for use during an emergency. Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have been known to occur, such as the riots in Algiers and many other cities. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations because even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. U.S. citizens should be alert and aware of their surroundings and maintain security awareness at all times. U.S. citizens should regularly monitor the local news media for current news and information.

Visitors to Algeria are advised to stay only in hotels where adequate security is provided. All visitors to Algeria should remain alert, avoid predictable travel patterns, and maintain a low profile. U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies of all kinds. Most political gatherings are peaceful but can turn violent without notice. Dual U.S./Algerian citizens should be aware that while they are in Algeria, they will be treated as Algerian citizens by host country authorities.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned to Algiers sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under significant security restrictions. These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country. The Government of Algeria requires U.S. Embassy personnel to seek permission to travel outside the city limits of Algiers and to have a security escort. Travel to the military zone established around the Hassi Messaoud oil center requires Government of Algeria authorization. Daily movement of Embassy personnel in parts of Algiers is limited, and prudent security practices are required at all times. Travel by Embassy personnel within certain areas of the city requires coordination with the U.S. Embassy's Regional Security Office.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Algeria are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and to obtain updated information on security within Algeria. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on facebook as well.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi in the El Biar district of Algiers, and can be reached by telephone at (213) 770 08 20 00. The fax is {213} 21 98 22 99. The consular section email is ACSAlgiers@state.gov.

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