Travel alert for US citizens in Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 17, 2003 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 PM, June 01, 2013

Travel alert for US citizens in Bangladesh

The US State Department last month warned all American citizens residing in or visiting Bangladesh to consider carefully the security risks in deciding whether to attend large public gatherings, referring to the recent bombings.

However, the State Department in its Internet Consular Information Sheet says, it had "no information to indicate that these bombings are related to terrorist attacks against Americans elsewhere in the world."

It also warned the Americans of their potential security risks in residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, cinemas, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches.

"Americans should increase their security awareness when they are at such locations, avoid them, or switch to other locations at which Americans in large numbers generally do not congregate," said the State Department in its web site.

The site, last updated on December 20, said Americans in Bangladesh should remember as security was increased at official US facilities, terrorists and their sympathisers would seek softer targets to harm private American citizens.

Giving its observations, the State Department notes that Bangladesh continues to experience some anti-American sentiment as a result of US military and other actions in the war against terrorism and events in the Middle East.

"Anti-American demonstrations throughout Bangladesh frequently occur on Friday afternoons but have the potential to take place at any time and to be unruly," it said.

It further adds that domestic politically inspired violence has not abated since the 2001 election campaign. While Americans in Bangladesh have not been the targets of the violence, they should consider it when planning their movements.

"Public demonstrations, marches and labour strikes are widely used as means of political expression in Bangladesh. The political opposition over the past several years has called a number of general strikes, or "hartals," resulting in the virtual shutdown of transportation and commerce, and sometimes attacks on individuals who do not observe the hartals. Clashes between rival political groups during hartals have resulted in deaths and injuries. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid all political protests, demonstrations, and marches," the State Department adds. "During hartals, American citizens should exercise caution in all areas and remain inside their hotels, residences, schools, or workplaces, whenever possible."

Due to several kidnappings, including those of foreign nationals, US citizens are advised against travelling to Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban unless the travel is absolutely essential. Individuals who choose to visit these districts are urged to exercise extreme caution.

In addition, the State Department marked crime as a growing problem in Bangladesh, particularly in the major cities of Dhaka and Chittagong.

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