U.S. State Department Issues Mozambique Travel Alert
“The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mozambique that municipal elections will take place on Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Official campaigning began on November 5. Tensions between Government of Mozambique (GRM) security forces and elements of the armed opposition political party Renamo have escalated in the past few weeks with violence in Sofala and Nampula Provinces. Due to the possibility of additional attacks, as well as ongoing regional threats, the U.S. Embassy in Maputo urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution during the election period, review recent Security Messages on the Embassy’s website, and carefully consider whether travel is necessary during this period. This Travel Alert will expire after 60 days.
In addition to the heightened tensions between GRM and Renamo forces, there has been an increase in the number of kidnappings and violent crimes in Mozambique. Although kidnappings had previously targeted specific communities, recent cases have targeted broader groups, including prominent Mozambicans and foreigners. One unfortunate incident ended in the death of a child. U.S. citizens are not believed to be kidnapping targets, but should take appropriate precautions and observe all necessary security measures.
Every year, in the months leading up to the holiday season, crime escalates significantly in urban centers across Mozambique. Common crimes include armed robbery, assault, and car and residence break-ins. Mozambican law requires individuals to carry their passport or Mozambican identity card with them at all times. Travelers have reported incidents of harassment and extortion committed by police when such documents are unavailable upon request.
U.S. citizens in Mozambique are strongly urged to avoid voter polling places, demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds of any kind during the election period. Even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent with little or no warning.
The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring election activity throughout Mozambique, and will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter. U.S. citizens should regularly monitor these sites and local media outlets for updates. U.S. citizens should also be aware of their surroundings and exercise good judgment in the coming weeks. General information on preparing for emergencies is available on U.S. Embassy Maputo’s website.
U.S. citizens in Mozambique are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens gain access to vital security information and enable the U.S. Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.”
Source: Mozambique Travel Alert