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WORLD TRAVEL WATCH

Rebel Hostilities Flare in Kashmir : 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. :

October 04, 1992|LARRY HABEGGER and JAMES O'REILLY | Habegger and O'Reilly are San Francisco-based free-lance writers. and

Asia

India: Troubles continue in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where, according to a Reuters report, the rebel Muslim Brotherhood on Sept. 20 warned all non-Kashmiris to leave the state within two days. The threat was directed at Indian security forces, but tensions are high and travelers run the risk of accidentally being caught up in hostilities. Travel to Jammu and Kashmir should be avoided at this time.

Ethnic violence erupted in two northeastern state capitals Sept. 10, resulting in curfews in Shillong, Meghalaya, and Aizawl, Mizoram. Tensions are high and travelers should exercise caution.

Pakistan: Devastating floods ravaged Pakistan's agricultural heartland in mid-September, killing at least 2,000 people, leaving more than 3 million homeless and destroying 70% of the cotton crop. Defer travel to the Punjab, where the floods hit hardest, destroying half the region's roads and bridges.

Philippines: Torrential rains and heavy flooding have increased the dangers of mudflows around Mt. Pinatubo. Travelers should avoid low-lying regions near the volcano, located about 50 miles north of Manila.

Sri Lanka: Travel to the northern and eastern parts of the island should be avoided due to continuing conflict between government forces and the Tamil extremist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Wilpattu and Gal Oya national parks should be avoided. Yala National Park and the cultural sites of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are not usually affected by the fighting, but travelers to these places should contact local authorities or the American Embassy in the capital city of Colombo for advice before going. Expect roadblocks. Exercise caution in Colombo, which is generally safe, although there have been numerous bombings in and around the city in the last two years.

Africa

Algeria: The risk of violence against foreigners has increased in recent months, particularly since the August bombings in Algiers at the international airport, another at an Air France office, and the attempted bombing of a Swissair office. Travelers should avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations because of their potential to turn violent, and should register with the U.S. Embassy upon arrival. Only limited consular services are available at the U.S. Consulate in Oran due to reduced staffing. Travel to the far southern region of the country should be avoided due to the high risk of banditry and assault. The border with Niger has been closed by the government of Niger for security reasons.

Ghana: More than 2,000 civil servants went on a rampage in Accra Sept. 17 to protest low pay. Tensions remain. Avoid all gatherings or demonstrations.

Mozambique: The country remains mired in a guerrilla war with the RENAMO group that affects all areas. Security around the capital Maputo seldom extends beyond 15 miles from the city center; it is ineffectual at night, when all travel should be avoided. Register with the U.S. Embassy upon arrival. Random attacks against civilian and economic targets make road and rail travel outside the provincial capitals dangerous. Attacks are common on the national highways between Maputo and South Africa or Swaziland. Most bills must be paid with dollars or traveler's checks, and credit cards are not widely accepted.

Former Soviet Republics

Tajikistan: Travel should be deferred due to ongoing unrest in the capital city of Dushanbe and fighting in the southern regions of Kulyab and Kurgan Tyube. Service has been unreliable at Dushanbe International Airport because of rebel activity. The unrest is likely to continue. Ukraine: Be sure your typhoid immunization is up to date before traveling to the Ukraine. An epidemic is feared in the city of Lugansk (near the eastern border with Russia), where 30 people have been stricken with the disease. Doctors blame the drinking water and sewage system.

South America

Bolivia: In August, a Bolivian terrorist group announced its intention to renew terrorist attacks against American targets, which in the past have included isolated incidents against American officials and missionaries. The State Department cautions that there is a possibility of terrorist attacks against U.S. interests through November. Exercise caution.

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