World Travel Watch is a monthly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel throughout the world. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. In the United States, contact the nearest passport agency office; abroad, check in with the nearest American embassy .
Rwanda: Armed conflict began in October in this small country known for its mountain gorillas when a force of Rwandan exiles invaded from Uganda in a bid to bring down the government. A curfew and roadblocks are in effect in the capital city of Kigali.
Togo: Anti-government unrest is increasing in this tiny West African country, where protesters went on a violent rampage recently, attacking police stations and burning cars.
India: Hindu-Muslim unrest is spreading throughout India in the wake of Tuesday's attack on the Ayodhya mosque by thousands of militant Hindu pilgrims. The violence left at least 32 people dead and brought the country closer to an all-out religious war. The dispute centers around Hindu fundamentalist claims that the Ayodhya mosque in northern India is located on the birthplace of the legendary demigod Lord Rama. Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh has offered to resign over the issue. Strikes have disrupted business and transportation throughout the region.
At press time, unrest continued in Jammu and Kashmir, and all travel there should be avoided at this time. Foreigners were not required to obtain special permits to visit the Punjab region, but caution should be observed while traveling there due to sporadic acts of violence directed against the government. There are "disturbed areas" that should be avoided because most of the militant acts in the Punjab occur there--Amritsar, Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. Exercise caution or avoid travel altogether by train or bus in the state because of occasional bombings of public transportation. Be especially cautious while traveling to border areas with Pakistan because of increased tensions over Kashmir that could erupt at any time.
Sri Lanka: This troubled country, which only a few months ago seemed on the verge of resolving its political conflicts, has spun into violence again. Tamil guerrillas have resumed a bloody campaign for an independent homeland, and the Jaffna Peninsula in the north is under siege. Avoid travel to the northern and eastern parts of the country at this time.
Bangladesh: Opposition parties recently staged a monthlong demonstration that caused many injuries and some deaths during skirmishes with police. The possibility of more violent demonstrations and strikes is high. Transportation would likely be affected by such developments, especially in the downtown area of Dhaka, as well as at the international airport. Follow local newspapers for changing conditions and register with the U.S. Embassy upon arrival. The Chittagong Hill Tracts region is restricted due to ongoing tribal insurgency.
Iraq/Kuwait Crisis: Travelers to the Middle East, North Africa or Southeast Asia should consider that continuing tensions in the Persian Gulf region could lead to demonstrations or other actions directed against Americans. Be prepared for changing security conditions as events unfold.
Israel: Due to increased tensions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, travel should be avoided there until further notice. Pamphlets circulating in the West Bank have encouraged attacks against American and Western interests. Americans detained in the West Bank have not been permitted timely communication with consular officials, lawyers or family, and Israeli authorities have not notified the U.S. Embassy of such arrests.
Travelers to East Jerusalem should be especially vigilant while using public transportation or parking in less frequented neighborhoods. Because of tight security conditions, lengthy searches may occur on entry or exit at both the Allenby Bridge from Jordan or Ben Gurion Airport, especially for foreigners with Arab surnames. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the Consulate in Jerusalem for the latest information, and carry your passport at all times.
Bulgaria: The government recently announced a crackdown on black-market operators. Stiff new penalties have been approved and police have vowed to enforce the laws strictly. Travelers are advised to avoid trouble by steering clear of the black market.
Germany: Hotel accommodations will be very difficult to obtain in Berlin through the middle of November. Be sure to have confirmed accommodations before arrival.
Hungary: Americans no longer need to obtain tourist visas in advance to travel here.