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WORLD TRAVEL WATCH

State Department Says to Avoid Peru : World Travel Watch is a monthly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. For more information on safety concerns in countries you may be visiting, contact the Citizens Emergency Center, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5225. :

August 02, 1992|LARRY HABEGGER and JAMES O'REILLY | Habegger and O'Reilly are San Francisco-based free-lance writers. and

South America

Peru: Due to an upsurge in terrorist violence in many parts of the country, the U.S. State Department is advising citizens to defer all travel to Peru until further notice. The rebel group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), which has been waging a war of terror against the government for 12 years, recently announced plans for "strikes" and to step up its bombing campaign in the capital city of Lima, targeting areas where U.S. citizens are likely to be present. On July 16, Sendero Luminoso detonated two powerful car bombs that killed at least 24 people and wounded scores more in one of Lima's wealthiest districts. The car bombs in Miraflores and other parts of the city indicate that the rebels are now using larger and more sophisticated bombs, and placing them with the intention of causing civilian casualties. Travelers should be aware that many parts of the country, including Lima, have been designated "emergency zones," i.e., areas governed by martial law. A curfew is now in effect in Lima from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition, the U.S. Embassy "strongly recommends" that U.S. citizens avoid the commercial areas of Miraflores and San Isidro at night.

Chile: Street crime remains high in the capital city of Santiago, and visitors should avoid walking in the downtown area after dark, even for short distances. Take a taxi. Winter pollution levels in Santiago in early July rose to emergency levels, prompting the government to temporarily shut down more than 100 factories and to place restrictions on traffic in the city. Follow local press reports for current information and if pollution levels remain high, avoid jogging or other strenuous outdoor activities.

Asia

Afghanistan: Despite the recent change in government, travel to Afghanistan should be avoided due to general lawlessness throughout the country and the likelihood of continuing hostilities. A cease-fire is in place in Kabul, but the capital city has been the site of intense fighting in recent weeks and safety cannot be guaranteed.

India: Tensions are mounting again in Ayodhya between Hindus and Muslims over attempts by militant Hindus to build a temple on the site of a 16th-Century mosque. Clashes occurred July 19 in the first outburst of violence since riots in 1990 that killed more than 1,000 people. Travel to this town in Uttar Pradesh should be undertaken with caution.

Pakistan: Widespread sectarian strife occurred in Peshawar July 13 when Sunni and Shiite Muslims attacked each other with guns. The army was brought in to restore order, but further unrest is possible and travelers should exercise caution, especially in the old city.

Southeast Asia

Burma: Travel to Burma should be undertaken with caution. Political discontent is widespread, and the possibility of unrest exists throughout the country. Armed security forces maintain a highly visible presence in the major cities and have used force against demonstrators in the past. Travelers should avoid the highland areas along the northern borders due to ongoing insurgency, and should expect delays in surface travel throughout the country due to poor roads and rail service. All domestic air travel should be avoided because the government-run Myanmar Airways has a poor safety record. No Burmese airports have instrument landing capabilities, which makes flying especially hazardous during the rainy season from May through November.

Philippines: Mt. Pinatubo erupted again in July, but far less dramatically than its massive eruption in June, 1991. Communities near the volcano are not in danger from the eruption, but there is an increased risk of mudflows of volcanic debris caused by heavy rains. Travelers should exercise caution in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, especially during stormy weather.

Travel to the principal tourist areas is generally safe, but travelers should exercise caution and beware of street crime in the entertainment districts of major cities, especially at night.

Africa

Algeria: Large demonstrations by Islamic fundamentalists in several cities July 17-18 led to clashes with heavily armed police. Three protesters were killed and many wounded in Algiers. Tensions are likely to continue and travelers should exercise caution and stay away from large gatherings.

Kenya: Two women, one British and one American, were raped while walking on a horse trail on the outskirts of Nairobi June 28 by five men wielding machetes. The incident was the third assault on foreigners in a month in Nairobi. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when visiting the city. Avoid isolated areas.

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