Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chad: US Department of State Issues Updated Travel Warning, Avoid travel to Eastern Chad, Border Areas

The US Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of travel to Chad and recommends citizens avoid travel to eastern Chad and border regions.   

US citizens should be particularly vigilant when visiting hotels, restaurants, markets, and easily accessible public areas that expatriates and foreign travelers frequent.

The US Embassy in Chad reviews all proposed travel by official US government personnel to areas outside of the capital, N'Djamena, and its immediate surroundings before approving such arrangements because of security concerns. 

US citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts similarly should review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. US citizens residing in Chad should exercise caution throughout the country. 

The security situation in Chad has steadily improved since the conclusion of an effective peace agreement between Sudan and Chad in early 2010. Despite recent stability, the security environment is historically volatile and could deteriorate unexpectedly, particularly in border areas in light of recent conflict in neighboring Central African Republic.

While there are presently no known specific threats against US citizens in Chad, there are violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who are intent on harming westerners and western interests and are able to cross borders easily. 

The US Embassy, therefore, advises all US citizens to exercise caution and be prepared to implement their personal evacuation or safe haven plans on short notice should the situation warrant such a plan. US citizens in Chad should closely monitor news media and register with the US Embassy in N'Djamena as well as monitor its website.

Incidents of robbery, carjacking at gunpoint, and murder have been reported throughout the country and recently in N’Djamena. While there are no reports of kidnapping for ransom in Chad since 2010, regional trends suggest this remains a potential threat. 

Violence is occasionally associated with car accidents and other events that have caused injury to Chadian nationals. Robbery victims have been beaten or killed, and law enforcement and military personnel have been implicated in violent crime. In addition, armed groups may reemerge with little warning. The Government of Chad has limited means to guarantee the safety of visitors in rural Chad.

US citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in rural Chad are strongly urged to adhere closely to the policies and procedures of their host organizations to mitigate risks from violent crime. The Government of Chad requires all individuals traveling to or residing in areas hosting refugee populations in Chad to obtain movement permits issued by the Ministry of Interior and Public Security in N'Djamena.  

US citizens intending to enter Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, or Sudan from Chad should consult the Department's Travel Warnings for those countries and obtain any requisite visas or travel permits prior to traveling.

The US Embassy communicates with US citizens residing in Chad through its warden system; however, in the case of an emergency, including an evacuation, the support that can be offered to those in remote and rural areas is limited. All US citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad should have an evacuation plan developed with the United Nations agency coordinating their work. 

Medical services in Chad are limited. US citizens entering Chad are strongly encouraged to verify their coverage extends to traveling within Chad – including medical evacuation – prior to arrival. 

International SOS and EuropAssistance are two clinics in Chad that offer an international standard of care and provide medical evacuation services. The preceding information is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the United States Department of State.

Embassy updates are available at the US Embassy N'Djamena web site and Facebook page. The current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information, as well as global updates, are available at the US Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the US and Canada, or from other countries on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.

US citizens residing in or traveling to Chad are encouraged to inform the Department prior to traveling through enrollment in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, the Department can keep travelers apprised of important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make for easier communication in the event of an emergency. Travelers should remember to keep all of their information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important to include a current phone number and e-mail address in order to receive the Embassy's emergency messages.

The US Embassy is located on Avenue Felix Eboué in N’Djamena; the Embassy's mailing address is BP 413 N’Djamena Chad. Embassy telephone numbers are 235 2251-62-11, 2251-70-09, 2251-77-59, 2251-90-52, 2251-92-18, and 2251-92-33. The Embassy fax number is 235 2251-56-54. For after-hours emergencies, US citizens in Chad should call 235 6662-2100 and ask to speak with the duty officer. 

For the full text of the updated travel warning:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/chad-travel-warning