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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If you're going to Somlia--well, don't


Warning from the Department of State reproduced here:
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Somalia, including the self-proclaimed "independent Republic of Somaliland." Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting can flare up with little warning, and kidnapping, murder, and other threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners can occur unpredictably in many regions. Armed conflict among rival militias has occurred in Southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu, which has resulted in the deaths of dozens of Somali nationals. There is no U.S. Embassy or other U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia.

In late 2003 and early 2004 there were attacks against foreigners in the self-declared "Republic of Somaliland" in northern Somalia. The Sanaag and Sool Regions in eastern Somaliland, bordering on Puntland (northeastern Somalia), are subject to insecurity due to potential inter-clan fighting. In past years, there also have been several fatal attacks against international relief workers, including Westerners, throughout Somalia and Somaliland. In addition, serious fighting has occurred in the Mogadishu area and the districts of Gedo and Bay (especially the vicinity of Baidoa) in the south.

Territorial control in the Mogadishu area is divided among numerous groups; lines of control are unclear and frequently shift, making movement within this area extremely hazardous.

U.S. citizens 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, especially in the waters off the Horn of Africa. There have been numerous such incidents, highlighting the continuing danger of maritime travel near the Horn of Africa. The international waters near Somalia have become the preferred venue for these pirate attacks. 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.
I think that State is trying to send a strong warning.

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