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U.S. warns citizens against travel to Sudan’s Two Areas, Darfur

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Steven Koutsis, USAID and UNAMID officials in Central Darfur Golo town on 19 June 2017 (Photo US Embassy)
October 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The United States warned its citizens on Thursday against the risk of terrorist and criminal attacks in Sudan troubled areas, saying should avoid travelling to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan.

"Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings," said the State Department in a travel warning released on Thursday.

"Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan, but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur states," further reads the statement.

Unidentified gunmen on 9 October have abducted a Swiss aid worker from her residence in El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping or demanded a ransom.

Further last March, A French national kidnapped in eastern Chad near the border with Sudan’s Darfur region has been taken into the western Sudan region, before the Sudanese authorities secure his release.

"This replaces the Travel Warning issued on March 30, 2017," it further said.

On 30 March, the Department of State issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens not to travel to Sudan pointing to the risk of terrorism.

“Terrorist groups are active in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings and kidnappings,” the State Department said six months ago.

The statement underlined that despite the significant reduction in military clashes between the government and armed opposition groups in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, tensions remain high and violence continues in the Darfur states, the border with Chad, and in areas bordering South Sudan, including the disputed area of Abyei?.

"In addition to risking injury or death, U.S. citizens who go to these areas without the permission of the Sudanese government may be detained by security forces," emphasised the Travel Warning.

The statement, also disclosed that Embassy in Khartoum "requires U.S. government personnel in Sudan to use armoured vehicles for official travel, and prohibits most travel outside of Khartoum without advance permission and extra security precautions".

(ST)