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Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens

Emergency Messages

  • April 10, 2014: Worldwide Caution

    The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated September 25, 2013... Read more... »

Worldwide Caution

September 26, 2013 | U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.  U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated February 19, 2013, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.  Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.    

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.  Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.  
In early August 2013, the Department of State instructed certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations August 4 through August 10 because of security information received.  The U.S. government took these precautionary steps out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may have planned to visit our installations.
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services.  In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.
EUROPE: Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  On February 1, 2013, an individual detonated a bomb at a side entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing one Embassy guard and injuring others.  The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi/Cephesi or DHKP/C) claimed responsibility on its website for the attack.  The DHKP/C has stated its intention to commit further attacks against the United States, NATO, and Turkey.  In May 2013, in London, two Islamic extremists, unaffiliated with any group, killed a British soldier.  The reported reason for the attack was to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed by British soldiers.  European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries.  On February 5, the Bulgarian government announced its judgment that Hezbollah was responsible for a July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which resulted in the deaths of five tourists and a bus driver.  
MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa.  The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.  Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).     Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.  In September 2012, a mob of Yemeni protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy compound.  U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there.  There are a number of extremist groups operating in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.  Iraq is experiencing levels of violence not seen since 2007, and al-Qa’ida in Iraq is increasingly resurgent.  Although U.S. interests have not been targeted directly, the threat of attacks against U.S. citizens, including kidnapping and terrorist violence, continues, even in Baghdad’s International Zone.  Bahrain continues to see bouts of sectarian violence, with Shi’a insurgents conducting IED attacks against Bahraini government and security facilities.  Al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates are active throughout North Africa.  In Algeria, terrorists sporadically attack Westerners and Algerian government targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali.  In January 2013, terrorists attacked a natural gas facility at In Amenas resulting in the deaths of dozens, including three U.S. citizens.  Terrorists have also targeted oil processing plants in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  The In Amenas attack was staged from southern Libya, which has become a haven for regional terrorist organizations that present a threat to U.S. interests in Tripoli.  Libyan security is largely provided by militias that occasionally fight one another, and that have been unable to protect U.S. persons from past attacks, such as the September 2012 attack against the U.S. Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi that led to the deaths of four U.S. citizens, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.  Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States.  U.S. citizens should remain cautious and be aware that there may be a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against U.S citizens.  Continuing political and social unrest in Egypt has led to large demonstrations that have turned violent.  Westerners and U.S. citizens have occasionally been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations.  On June 28, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria.  On May 9, a private U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside the U.S. Embassy after being asked whether he was an American.  Political and social unrest in Tunisia has also led to large demonstrations that occasionally turn violent.  In September 2012, a large group of demonstrators breached the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunis, causing significant damage.  
No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence, and throughout the country the potential exists for unpredictable and hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults, large and small-scale bombings, and chemical attacks, as well as arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture.  The conflict in Syria has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths with many thousands wounded and over one million displaced persons.  
AFRICA: A number of al-Qa’ida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around Africa.  In February 2012, the emir of U.S-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the alliance of the two organizations.  Al-Shabaab has taken credit for the attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21, 2013, which claimed the lives of over 60 people and injured over a hundred more, including U.S. citizens.  Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are also frequent in Somalia.  Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and non-military targets such as international donor offices and humanitarian assistance providers.  Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea).  It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.  AQIM-related threats against Westerners in Mali and elsewhere increased following the initiation of the U.S.-supported, French-led intervention in northern and central Mali, where the security environment remains fluid.  In neighboring Niger, terrorists formerly associated with AQIM conducted suicide attacks targeting a French mining facility and a Nigerien military compound in Agadez in late May.  The loosely organized group of factions known as Boko Haram continues to carry out significant improvised explosive device and suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, mainly targeting government forces and innocent civilians; attacks have continued at a high rate since their attack on the UN building in the capital of Abuja in 2011.  Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru have also claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of several Western workers and tourists, both in northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon; Ansaru has murdered virtually all of its hostages in the face of real or perceived rescue attempts, while Boko Haram allegedly received a large ransom payment for the release of a French family abducted near a tourist park in northern Cameroon.  In 2013, extremists have also targeted both Nigerians and foreign nationals involved in polio eradication efforts in northern Nigeria.  Extremists attacked a school in northeast Nigeria, killing over 40 students, and have called for further attacks on educational institutions.  Several agencies that have partnered with the U.S. government in the field of public health development in northern Nigeria have curtailed their activities in response to these threats.  The president of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in response to activities of extremist groups.  
U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.  The threat of hijacking to merchant vessels continues to exist in Somali territorial waters and as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.  There has also been a recent rise in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, including hijackings.
U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.  In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times.  U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents.  Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.  Review our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet for information on piracy in the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.  
SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests.  The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region.  Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.  Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-borne explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings. 
Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government and military/law enforcement personnel.  Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas.  U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted for kidnapping.  No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and throughout the country the potential exists for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time.  Elements of the Taliban and the al-Qa’ida terrorist network, as well as other insurgent groups hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, remain active.  Insurgents continue to target various U.S. and Afghan government facilities in Kabul City, including the June 25, 2013 attack against a U.S. government facility adjacent to the Afghan Presidential Palace and U.S. Embassy.  There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers throughout the country.  India has experienced terrorist and insurgent activities that may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly.  Anti-Western terrorist groups, some of which are on the U.S. government's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayyiba.  Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. 
Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries experienced civil unrest, large scale protests and demonstrations following the release of anti-Islamic videos and cartoons in September 2012.  
CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia.  These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.    
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Before You Go
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The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling 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 are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad."
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Traveler iPhone or Google Play App for travel and timely security information at your fingertips.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. 
In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.  U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated February 19, 2013, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.  Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.  Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.

In early August 2013, the Department of State instructed certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations August 4 through August 10 because of security information received.  The U.S. government took these precautionary steps out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may have planned to visit our installations.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services.  In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE:
 Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  On February 1, 2013, an individual detonated a bomb at a side entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing one Embassy guard and injuring others.  The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi/Cephesi or DHKP/C) claimed responsibility on its website for the attack.  The DHKP/C has stated its intention to commit further attacks against the United States, NATO, and Turkey.  In May 2013, in London, two Islamic extremists, unaffiliated with any group, killed a British soldier.  The reported reason for the attack was to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed by British soldiers.  European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries.  On February 5, the Bulgarian government announced its judgment that Hezbollah was responsible for a July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which resulted in the deaths of five tourists and a bus driver.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA
: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa.  The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.  Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.  In September 2012, a mob of Yemeni protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy compound.  U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there.  There are a number of extremist groups operating in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.  Iraq is experiencing levels of violence not seen since 2007, and al-Qa’ida in Iraq is increasingly resurgent.  Although U.S. interests have not been targeted directly, the threat of attacks against U.S. citizens, including kidnapping and terrorist violence, continues, even in Baghdad’s International Zone.  Bahrain continues to see bouts of sectarian violence, with Shi’a insurgents conducting IED attacks against Bahraini government and security facilities.  Al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates are active throughout North Africa.  In Algeria, terrorists sporadically attack Westerners and Algerian government targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali.  In January 2013, terrorists attacked a natural gas facility at In Amenas resulting in the deaths of dozens, including three U.S. citizens.  Terrorists have also targeted oil processing plants in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  The In Amenas attack was staged from southern Libya, which has become a haven for regional terrorist organizations that present a threat to U.S. interests in Tripoli.  Libyan security is largely provided by militias that occasionally fight one another, and that have been unable to protect U.S. persons from past attacks, such as the September 2012 attack against the U.S. Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi that led to the deaths of four U.S. citizens, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.  Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States.  U.S. citizens should remain cautious and be aware that there may be a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against U.S citizensContinuing political and social unrest in Egypt has led to large demonstrations that have turned violent.  Westerners and U.S. citizens have occasionally been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations.  On June 28, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria.  On May 9, a private U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside the U.S. Embassy after being asked whether he was an American.  Political and social unrest in Tunisia has also led to large demonstrations that occasionally turn violent.  In September 2012, a large group of demonstrators breached the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunis, causing significant damage.

No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence, and throughout the country the potential exists for unpredictable and hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults, large and small-scale bombings, and chemical attacks, as well as arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture.  The conflict in Syria has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths with many thousands wounded and over one million displaced persons.

AFRICA:
A number of al-Qa’ida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around Africa.  In February 2012, the emir of U.S-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the alliance of the two organizations.  Al-Shabaab has taken credit for the attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21, 2013, which claimed the lives of over 60 people and injured over a hundred more, including U.S. citizens.  Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are also frequent in Somalia.  Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and non-military targets such as international donor offices and humanitarian assistance providers.  Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea).  It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.  AQIM-related threats against Westerners in Mali and elsewhere increased following the initiation of the U.S.-supported, French-led intervention in northern and central Mali, where the security environment remains fluid.  In neighboring Niger, terrorists formerly associated with AQIM conducted suicide attacks targeting a French mining facility and a Nigerien military compound in Agadez in late May.  The loosely organized group of factions known as Boko Haram continues to carry out significant improvised explosive device and suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, mainly targeting government forces and innocent civilians; attacks have continued at a high rate since their attack on the UN building in the capital of Abuja in 2011.  Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru have also claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of several Western workers and tourists, both in northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon; Ansaru has murdered virtually all of its hostages in the face of real or perceived rescue attempts, while Boko Haram allegedly received a large ransom payment for the release of a French family abducted near a tourist park in northern Cameroon.  In 2013, extremists have also targeted both Nigerians and foreign nationals involved in polio eradication efforts in northern Nigeria.  Extremists attacked a school in northeast Nigeria, killing over 40 students, and have called for further attacks on educational institutions.  Several agencies that have partnered with the U.S. government in the field of public health development in northern Nigeria have curtailed their activities in response to these threats.  The president of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in response to activities of extremist groups.

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.  The threat of hijacking to merchant vessels continues to exist in Somali territorial waters and as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.  There has also been a recent rise in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, including hijackings.

U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.  In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times.  U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents.  Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.  Review our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet for information on piracy in the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.

SOUTH ASIA:
The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests.  The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region.  Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.  Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-borne explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.

Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government and military/law enforcement personnel.  Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas.  U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted for kidnapping.  No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and throughout the country the potential exists for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time.  Elements of the Taliban and the al-Qa’ida terrorist network, as well as other insurgent groups hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, remain active.  Insurgents continue to target various U.S. and Afghan government facilities in Kabul City, including the June 25, 2013 attack against a U.S. government facility adjacent to the Afghan Presidential Palace and U.S. Embassy.  There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers throughout the country.  India has experienced terrorist and insurgent activities that may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly.  Anti-Western terrorist groups, some of which are on the U.S. government's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayyiba.  Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.

Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries experienced civil unrest, large scale protests and demonstrations following the release of anti-Islamic videos and cartoons in September 2012. 

CENTRAL ASIA:
Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia.  These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.

Before You Go

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrolling 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 are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad."

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.  Stay up to date by bookmarking the Travel.State.gov website or downloading our free Smart Traveler iPhone or Google Play App for travel and timely security information at your fingertips.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays). 

Travel Alert Worldwide

U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

August 2, 2013

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. Current information suggests that al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.  This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013.

Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriatesafety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

We continue to work closely with other nations on thet hreat from international terrorism, including fromal-Qa'ida.  Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

We recommend U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website.  We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens Traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollmentgives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulateto contact you in an emergency.  If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website at travel.state.gov where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us onTwitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler app,available through iTunes or Google Play, to have travel information at your fingertips.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular tollline at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time(except U.S. federal holidays).

Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Reduction of Potential Kidnapping Threat in Cusco

U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

March 6, 2013

The U.S. Embassy has conducted a thorough review of current information surrounding the potential kidnapping threat against U.S. citizens in the Cusco and Machu Picchu area by members of a criminal organization. Based upon this review, the February 13 restriction on travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to the region has been lifted. 

The Embassy continues to strongly recommend that when traveling in areas near the Peruvian “VRAEM” Emergency Zone, defined by the Government of Peru as parts of the Regions of Apurimac, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica and Junin, U.S. citizens heighten their security awareness and implement additional security measures. You can find additional tips for safe travel here. The full listing of areas to which Embassy travel is restricted are included in the Threats to Safety and Security section of our Country Specific Information for Peru.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Peru enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Peru. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website or Lima ACS Facebook page.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook , and download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android market,to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco, Peru, can be found at Avenida Pardo 845, Cusco.  The office can be reached by phone at (51) 984-621-369 or (5184) 231-474, and is open Monday through Friday, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or for after-hours emergencies; website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/ .  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Potential Kidnapping Threat in Cusco

Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Potential Kidnapping Threat in Cusco

U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

February 13, 2013

The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens of a potential kidnapping threat in the Cusco area.  The Embassy has received information that members of a criminal organization may be planning to kidnap U.S. citizen tourists in the Cusco and Machu Picchu area.  Possible targets and methods are not known and the threat is credible at least through the end of February 2013. For the moment, personal travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to the Cusco region, including Machu Picchu, has been prohibited and official travel is severely restricted as a result of this threat.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

Thousands of U.S. citizens routinely travel to the Cusco region without undue incident.  The U.S. Embassy remains confident of the Peruvian government’s efforts to ensure the safety of all tourists in the region. 

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Peru enroll in the Department
of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current
Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Peru at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website or Lima ACS Facebook page.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/travelgov and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/travelgov, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8 to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco, Peru, can be found at Avenida Pardo 845, Cusco.  The office can be reached by phone at (51) 984-621-369 or (5184) 231-474, and is open Monday through Friday, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or for after-hours emergencies; website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/ .  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Cajamarca Airport Closure

May 31, 2012 | U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

The national press reports bombs were found at the Cajamarca airport on May 30th; flight service has subsequently been interrupted from that airport. Flights may continue to be cancelled as a result of ongoing strikes in the Cajamarca region in protest of the Conga mining project.  U.S. citizens should be aware that roadblocks and demonstrations in the region may prevent travel and/or threaten the safety of travelers.  The strike is expected to continue indefinitely. 

Demonstrations in Peru are often peaceful, but can quickly escalate into violent confrontations.  U.S. citizens are advised to avoid large crowds and demonstrations and are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, maintain awareness of local events and their surroundings, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.  It is illegal in Peru for foreigners to participate in demonstrations.  U.S. citizens who have been caught up in political demonstrations in Peru have been detained and expelled from the country. 

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website.  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, by calling the regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips. 

If you are a U.S. citizen in Peru with an emergency, you can call our hotline at (511) 618-2000.  The U.S. Embassy is located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), or access our website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/ .  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only. 

For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Outbreak of Leptospirosis in Peru

May 11, 2012 | U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released an alert regarding an outbreak of leptospirosis in Peru, especially in the Loreto region.  Leptospirosis is a disease that is spread by animal urine, and people become infected with the disease when they come in contact with body fluids of infected animals or in contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with infected urine.  The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, or rafting in contaminated lakes or rivers.

Due to recent flooding, more than 300 cases and 3 deaths associated with leptospirosis have been reported in Peru thus far in 2012.  Health authorities have alerted people to take precautions against the infection.  Vigilance with sanitation and personal hygiene are strongly advised.  We refer you to the CDC's alert for more specific information.

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website.  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, by calling the regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips. 

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco, Peru, can be found at Avenida Pardo 845, Cusco.  The office can be reached by phone at (51) 984-621-369 or (5184) 231-474, and is open Monday through Friday, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or for after-hours emergencies; website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/ .  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only. 

For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html.

Potential Kidnapping Threat in Iquitos

February 21, 2012 | U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

The U.S. Embassy warns U.S. citizens of a potential kidnapping threat in the Iquitos area.  The Embassy has received information that members of criminal organizations may be planning to kidnap foreigners in the Iquitos region.  Possible targets, time frames, and methods are not known.  The region has not been put off limits for U.S. Embassy personnel; however employees are being reminded to take this threat into consideration and practice good personal security while working in or traveling to Iquitos.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens take security measures while overseas to lower their profile and susceptibility to criminal assaults, carjackings, kidnappings or other attacks.  By maintaining a high level of vigilance of your surroundings to detect potential surveillance and frequently changing your departure times and routes of travel, you can make it difficult for would-be kidnappers to target you.  Please see the Department of State’s Tips for Traveling Abroad for more tips on how to stay safe while overseas.

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website.  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 by calling the regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00am to 8:00pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens residing and traveling abroad should review the Department’s Worldwide Caution and other travel information when making decisions concerning their travel plans and activities while abroad.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.  You can also download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco, Peru, can be found at Avenida Pardo 845, Cusco.  The office can be reached by phone at (51) 984-621-369 or (51) 84-231-474, and is open Monday through Friday, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, 8:00am to 2:00pm.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) or for after-hours emergencies; website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/.  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00am to 11:30am weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.

For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html

Worldwide Caution

February 1, 2012 | U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru

The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated July 26, 2011, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past several years, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE: Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attack, and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. In the past several years, attacks have been planned or occurred in various European cities.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. For example, Iraq remains dangerous and unpredictable. U.S. military forces have withdrawn as of December 31, 2011 but the threat of attacks against U.S. citizens, including kidnapping and terrorist violence, is expected to continue. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices, mortars, and shootings. Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities there. The U.S. Embassy has had to close several times in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S. citizens as well as other Westerners have been targeted for attack in Yemen. U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there. In Algeria, terrorist attacks occur regularly, particularly in the Kabylie region of the country. In the past, terrorists have targeted oil processing facilities in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States. U.S. citizens should remain cautious and be aware that there may be a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against U.S citizens.

The events of last year's Arab Spring, which affected many countries in the Middle East including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, have resulted in civil unrest and large-scale protests and demonstrations. U.S. citizens are warned that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can escalate into violent clashes. U.S. citizens are reminded that demonstrations and riots can occur with little or no warning. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

AFRICA: A number of al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around Africa. Since the July 11, 2010 terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, for which the Somalia-based, U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility, there have been increased threats against public areas across East Africa. The terrorist attacks of October 2011 against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Somalia, as well as the grenade attacks against a nightclub and bus stop in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, highlight the vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks in East Africa and around the world. Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (which includes Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria. In Nigeria, a group known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for an August 26, 2011, suicide bombing attack on the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja that killed 25 people and wounded more than 120.

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there has been a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates. Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali territorial waters, while others have been hijacked as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.

The U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's suggested piracy countermeasures for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.

SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South and Central Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qaida and its affiliates [Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations], many of which are on the U.S. government's list of Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.

Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government and military/law enforcement personnel. Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas. Kidnappings of U.S. citizens are also on the increase. In Afghanistan, remnants of the former Taliban regime and the al-Qaida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)/NATO military operations, remain active. There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country. There is an increased threat of terrorism in India. Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.

CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian region. Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and attacked U.S. government interests in the past. Previous terrorist attacks conducted in Central Asia have involved improvised explosive devices, suicide bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.

EAST ASIA: Regional and international terrorist organizations remain active in the region and have attacked U.S. interests in the past.

Before You Go

The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling 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 are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad".

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/. Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Traveler iPhone App for travel information at your fingertips. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Lima website.  In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cusco, Peru, can be found at Avenida Pardo 845, Cusco.  The office can be reached by phone at (51-84) 621-369, and is open Monday through Friday, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located in Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida La Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-618-2000 during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) or for after-hours emergencies; website at http://lima.usembassy.gov/ .  The Consular Section is open for emergency services, including registration, from 8:00am to 11:30am weekdays, excluding U.S. and Peruvian holidays, and non-emergency services are provided by appointment.