March 28, 2012
(RTTNews) - The U.S. State Department has urged American citizens not to travel to Yemen in the wake of the high security threat level in that country due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.
In a Travel Warning update issued on Tuesday, U.S. citizens currently in Yemen have been advised to depart. Since September last year, the number of U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa has been reduced. The State Department said its ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.
The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. While political violence in Sanaa has calmed in recent months, violent clashes are still taking place in various parts of the country and may escalate without notice. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.
Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP has reportedly claimed responsibility for killing a U.S. citizen in Taiz on March 18. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. Piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean is also a security threat to maritime activities in the region.
U.S. citizens in Yemen have been reminded that they should ensure that they have proper and current documentation, including a valid U.S. passport, to help them depart the country and make available the U.S. Embassy's assistance.
U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning have been advised to limit non-essential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information.