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Travel Advisory : Precautions Urged in Pakistan

March 26, 1995|EDWARD WRIGHT | Wright is a former assistant foreign editor at The Times. His column appears monthly.

Asia

Pakistan: Two Americans attached to the U.S. Consulate were shot to death and a third was wounded earlier this month when gunmen attacked their van on a street in Karachi. Saying it knows of "no threats to other U.S. citizens" in Pakistan, the State Department nevertheless urged all Americans there to "exercise prudent security precautions." The department warned that the recent arrest in Pakistan of a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing "may cause reprisals by terrorist organizations" against U.S. citizens or businesses. Travelers were also reminded that there is a high level of sectarian and factional violence in Pakistan, and that Karachi remains the center of politically motivated killings.

South Korea: The U.S. Embassy in Seoul reported a series of recent violent incidents involving Americans. In one, an American businesswoman was attacked as she walked home from work by an assailant who attempted to rape her; she fought him off. Another American woman who lives in Korea was attacked by an apparently "deranged" Korean woman. An American man, staying with Korean friends, was assaulted by the friends' landlord during a dispute. And two other American men, in separate incidents, became inadvertently involved in bar fights. The common thread for the incidents, the embassy noted, was that "the foreigners faced difficult and often uncooperative police when involved in disputes with Koreans."

Europe

Germany: The Bonn government banned two more neo-Nazi groups that have been linked to racist and anti-Semitic attacks, according to the Reuters news service. It was the latest move in a crackdown against neo-Nazi violence that surged after German unification in 1990 and in which at least 30 people, most of them foreigners, have been killed. Right-wing violence, meanwhile, continued: Police in Dusseldorf said seven far-right extremists beat and then stabbed to death a 65-year-old tramp they found sleeping on a park bench. And officials in the southeastern city of Saarlouis said unknown vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery, uprooting gravestones and knocking over statues.

Central America

Guatemala: Kidnapings are becoming alarmingly common, according to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. Most appear to be motivated by greed rather than politics. In an incident last month, a 20-year-old American citizen was kidnaped by armed men near the home of his Guatemalan parents, and a ransom demand was later made to the victim's grandfather. A week later, a Guatemalan child was abducted from an American school bus in a residential zone inhabited by U.S. Embassy families. According to the embassy, many kidnapers' successes combined with the failure of the authorities to apprehend them "will cause this lucrative business to . . . increase in frequency."

Briefly . . .

Israel and the Territories: All public transit buses going through East Jerusalem to the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter will have a police escort, Israeli media reported. There has been an increase in stone-throwing attacks on buses.

Jamaica: A German tourist was shot to death in the town of Oracabessa, east of Ocho Rios, as he struggled with a man who entered a restaurant and pointed a gun at him, Reuters reported. Robbery was the suspected motive.

Kenya: A gang of armed bandits robbed a convoy of 30 Italian and German tourists on safari in the coastal region, about 50 miles from the beach resort of Malindi, Reuters said. There were no injuries.

Hot spots: State Department travel warnings are in effect for Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Colombia, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Tajikistan.

The U.S. State Department offers recorded travel warnings and advisories at (202) 647-5225; the fax line is (202) 647-3000.

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