The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Sudan, urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, and advises them to carefully consider the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan. A referendum concerning the separation of the Southern region of Sudan is scheduled to take place on January 9, 2011. Although the situation has been relatively calm since the elections held in April 2010, the period following the referendum in January 2011 remains unpredictable. This Travel Warning updates and replaces the Travel Warning issued on October 1, 2010, to note the political situation and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Sudan.
Due to the near term potential for heightened political tension, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, and advises them to carefully consider the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan. The referendum concerning the separation of the southern region of Sudan is scheduled to take place on January 9, 2011. If the result of the referendum favors separation, southern Sudan will become an independent nation by July 2011. While the situation is relatively calm, the period following the referendum may be marked by political instability, civil unrest, the migration of persons between the north and south, and disruptions or delays in government services, particularly in the south.
While the Government of Sudan has taken steps to limit the activities of terrorist groups, elements of these groups remain in Sudan, and have threatened to attack Western interests. In January 2008, two U.S. Embassy employees were assassinated by a group of Sudanese extremists while traveling on a street in Khartoum. The persons who carried out this attack were convicted and sentenced to death by a Sudanese court, but escaped from custody in June 2010; three of the attackers remain at large. The terrorist threat level in the Khartoum area and 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 government vehicles at all times, and to obtain advance permission for travel outside of Khartoum. In addition, family members under age 21 of U.S. Embassy personnel are not allowed to reside in Sudan.
If you are a U.S. citizen traveling or residing anywhere in Sudan, you 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 various armed militia groups and Sudanese military forces, particularly in the Darfur region, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas of Southern Sudan. You should avoid all public demonstrations and political rallies, as even demonstrations that seem peaceful can turn confrontational and become violent with little or no notice. Anti-U.S. and European demonstrations occur periodically, mostly in Khartoum. You should keep a low profile, vary your time and routes of travel, exercise care while driving, and ensure that your passport and Sudanese visa are always valid and up to date.
The threat of violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings, is particularly high in the Darfur region of Sudan, as the Government of Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime in that region. In May 2010, a U.S. citizen working for a humanitarian relief organization was kidnapped in Darfur, and held for over three months before being released. A number of other foreign nationals have been abducted and held for ransom by criminal groups in Darfur. Because of the risk involved, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum currently prohibits travel by U.S. Government personnel to Darfur without express authorization by the chief of mission.
The risk of violent crime in Juba, in Southern Sudan, is also high. If you are a U.S. citizen affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in Darfur or in Southern Sudan, you should take measures that reduce your exposure to violent crime, and you should adhere closely at all times to the security policies and procedures of your organization.
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 it. 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. Warden messages for U.S. citizens in Sudan can be found online at: http://sudan.usembassy.gov/warden_messages.html.
The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum provides services to U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Sudan. However, our ability to provide services to U.S. citizens in emergency situations outside of the Khartoum area is limited, and is dependent on security conditions. The ability of the Embassy to provide assistance to U.S. citizens is particularly limited in Southern Sudan and in Darfur.
You can stay in touch and get updates by checking the U.S. Embassy website, http://sudan.usembassy.gov. You can also get global updates at the website of the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, http://travel.state.gov, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and country specific information.
If you don’t have internet access, we have a toll-free call center for updates: 1-808-407-4747 in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (except U.S. federal holidays).
If you are going to live in or travel to Sudan despite this travel warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), found online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui. By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum or at the Consulate General in Juba.
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 ACSKhartoum@state.gov, or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website, http://sudan.usembassy.gov. 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); ask to be connected to the Embassy duty officer.