US State Department issued travel advisory for its citizens in relation to the situation in Ethiopia. This is for the second time when State Department issue travel advisory on Ethiopia in a matter of months.
Sharon Gray, post-doctoral researcher from UC Davis, was killed in Sebeta outside of Addis Ababa early October when the van she was in was attacked-allegedly by protesters.
As per the advisory, US citizens are urged to defer non-essential travels to Ethiopia apparently on grounds of what the statement described as “unrest” in the country.
The statement noted that thousands of arrests and the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia.
Seemingly, prevailing security situation in Ethiopia is impacting the U.S embassy in the delivery of consular services.
Statement advised US citizens to have alternative communication plans in light of restrictions of internet, phone services and cellular data and to inform their family and friends that communication could be an issue in Ethiopia owing to “unrest.”
Unpredictability of communication in Ethiopia is underscored; Department of State “strongly” advised US citizens to register cellular phone number with the U.S.embassy in Addis Ababa to get information updates regarding security and to enroll in “the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)”
In addition, demonstrations and large gatherings are to be avoided and citizens are urged to assess safety situation continuously.
Something strongly implied in the statement is that safety issue could arise as a result of measures taken by the government : “Remember that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly.”
State of emergency declared in Ethiopia on October 8, 2016 restricted, among many other things, movement of diplomats outside of 40 kilometers in all directions from the capital, Addis Ababa.
More information about the advisory is available here