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Important Security Information for American Citizens in Nepal2004-04-22 09:05:33
Embassy of the United States of America
Kathmandu, Nepal
April 22, 2004

As most American citizens in Kathmandu are aware, for the past three weeks demonstrations and accompanying violence by the five agitating political parties and various other groups have continued to block the central areas of Kathmandu on a daily basis. Large groups of demonstrators clog many of Kathmandu's roads, hurling rocks, blocking traffic with burning tires and inciting security forces. Usually the altercations focus on the central areas of Ratna Park, New Road, Bagh Bazaar, and Putali Sadak. There have also been frequent problems at the Chahabil choke point on the Ring Road.

Often, including today, the areas of confrontation and traffic stoppage have spilled over into other areas, such as Kantipath, Durbar Marg, Exhibition Road and the junction entry to the tourist area of Thamel. The demonstrations begin as early 0730, intensify in the afternoon and die down by 1800. The agitating parties indicate plans to continue these demonstrations indefinitely.

Until these daily demonstrations subside, there will continue to be risks of injury in central areas of Kathmandu from brick throwers and other forms of violence as well as nearly complete stoppage of traffic. American citizens are strongly urged to avoid affected areas during daytime hours, to avoid any areas where tires are burning or demonstrations are occurring and to travel cautiously during the day.

For further guidance on security measures during demonstrations and information about security conditions in Nepal, American citizens are strongly encouraged to refer to the Consular Information Sheet for Nepal which may be found on the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA. American citizens can obtain specific information by calling the Embassy at (977-1) 411-1179 and asking for the American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section.
 
 
Updated Travel Warning for Nepal2004-04-09 09:02:25
United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Nepal
April 7, 2004

This Travel Warning updates U.S. citizens on the security environment in Nepal, including continued anti-American threats, growing Maoist extortion and attacks on government forces, and disruption of civilian road transportation. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated December 22, 2003.

The Department of State continues to urge U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Nepal. The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of Maoist demands to cease developmental and social welfare projects by U.S.-affiliated non-governmental organizations from certain areas of the country. Rebel Maoist spokesmen continue to publish anti-American rhetoric and to threaten U.S.-associated humanitarian organizations. In November 2003, one such program in Butwal was terminated early and moved to Kathmandu in response to rebels' threats.

There is a continuing high volume of reports of Maoist threats, intimidation, harassment, robbery and extortion against foreigners on popular trekking routes, roads and in tourist areas. The U.S. Embassy has received two reports of American trekkers being detained by Maoists, in onecase for several days. Businesses identified with the U.S. have been physically attacked. Some private vehicles transporting foreigners (including two Americans) were stopped by Maoists and burned after passengers were forced to disembark. Interrupted telephone services to many trekking areas caused by rebel destruction of communications infrastructure make it difficult and sometimes impossible to locate travelers or to arrange medical evacuations should emergencies occur.

Maoist insurgents recently have mounted concerted military assaults on Government security forces and civilian facilities in the headquarters of Bhojpur and Myagdi Districts, in the hills of eastern and mid-western Nepal. More such attacks are possible without warning in any part of the country. One attack was on the town of Beni, astride a main trail into the Annapurna trekking area from the southwest. A dramatic increase in Maoist extortion incidents occurred last fall along the southern and western portions of the Annapurna Trekking Circuit, including injuries by Maoists to some foreigners. The Embassy advises against trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp or in the southern and western portions of the Annapurna Circuit until Maoist extortion and attacks are discontinued.

Maoists in the field may not strictly follow the programs announced by the Maoist leadership. For example, Maoist leaders recently announced road closures (blockades) of certain western and southern districts of Nepal. The Embassy received, however, widespread reports of Maoist cadres forcefully blocking major roads throughout the country, including roads to Tibet, India, Chitwan, Pokhara, and Jiri.

Rebel tactics also include attacks on Nepalese Government facilities and public and private vehicles, including buses; indiscriminate bombings; assassination attempts against Nepalese officials; and imposition of strikes ("bandhs"). The random nature of Maoist attacks and security force operations create a risk of U.S. citizens being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a violent incident.

In March 2004, three bombs were detonated in Thamel, the main tourist hub in Kathmandu. During last fall's tourist season, Maoists burned down part of a resort near the Chitwan Wildlife Preserve after the foreign tourists staying there were given short notice to vacate. No casualties were reported in those incidents. On March 21, 2004, a group of Maoist rebels bombed and destroyed the control tower of the airport used to carry tourists to the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal's Chitwan district.

On October 31, 2003, the Department of State designated the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a terrorist organization under Executive Order 13224. This designation blocks Maoist assets in the U.S. or held by U.S. citizens wherever located, and bars most transactions with the Maoists, including but not limited to the making or receiving of any contribution of funds, goods, or services to or for the benefit of the Maoists.

U.S. citizens who travel to Nepal despite this Travel Warning should factor the potential for violence into their plans and maintain a low profile while in Nepal. U.S. citizens should avoid public demonstrations, particularly during national strikes or "bandhs," when many businesses are closed and the lack of public transport or taxis can make travel to and from Kathmandu, Chitwan, Pokhara and other airports difficult. Given increased incidents of Maoist violence on all roads used by tourists outside the Kathmandu Valley, U.S. citizens are advised to avoid road travel outside the Kathmandu Valley at this time.

While U.S. official personnel continue to conduct travel outside the Kathmandu Valley, such travel is subject to review and approval on a case-by-case basis. U.S. citizens are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for the latest security information before undertaking travel to outlying areas, and to travel by air whenever possible. U.S. citizens also are urged to register with and obtain updated information on travel and security from the Consular Section of the Embassy by accessing the Embassy's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA, by e-mail to WardenKTM@state.gov, or by personal appearance at the Embassy. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu, telephone (977) (1) 441-1179; fax (977) (1) 444-4981.

Further information on travel to Nepal may be obtained from the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement http://travel.state.gov/wwc1.html by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, 1-317-472-2328 from overseas, or via the Internet on the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov.
 
 
Kirtipur Curfew and Ban on Gatherings2004-04-09 08:51:48
Embassy of the United States of America
Kathmandu, Nepal
April 8, 2004


Important Security Information for American Citizens in Nepal

This message is issued to alert American citizens that the Government of Nepal (GON) has ordered a curfew for Kirtipur beginning at 11pm on April 8 until 4am on April 9. American citizens are strongly advised to respect the curfew restrictions and to monitor local media broadcasts for further information and updates.

In addition, the GON has issued a ban, which goes into effect at midnight (12am) on April 8, on group gatherings of five persons or more in "riot affected areas" of Kathmandu and Lalitpur Districts. Should groups of this size or larger congregate in public areas GON Security Forces have been ordered to break up or arrest such groups. It is unclear at this time what specific areas will be affected by this ban; however, Americans should avoid areas prone to demonstrations like Ratna Park and New Road.

For further guidance on security measures during demonstrations and information about security conditions in Nepal, American citizens are strongly encouraged to refer to the Consular Information Sheet and current Travel Warning for Nepal which may be found through the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA. American citizens can obtain specific information by calling the Embassy at (977-1) 411-1179 and asking for the American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section.
 
 
Important Security Announcement Regarding April 9 Demonstration2004-04-08 08:51:35
Embassy of the United States of America
Kathmandu, Nepal
April 8, 2004


Important Security Information for American Citizens in Nepal

This message is issued to alert American citizens that the five agitating political parties are planning demonstrations in the middle of Kathmandu at Ratna Park on April 9. Initial plans for these demonstrations include a march on the Royal Palace and a confrontation with police by crossing barricades. Americans can expect to see traffic stoppage in the Tundikhel, Bagh Bazaar, Kamaladi, Naxal and Durbar Marg areas. Should the demonstrations take a particularly violent turn, it may spill over into the surrounding areas, perhaps including Thamel, Kantipath, and New Road. American citizens are urged to avoid these areas and to travel cautiously during the day.

For further guidance on security measures during demonstrations and information about security conditions in Nepal, American citizens are strongly encouraged to refer to the Consular Information Sheet for Nepal which may be found on the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA . American citizens can obtain specific information by calling the Embassy at (977-1) 411-1179 and asking for the American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section.
 
 
Voting for American Citizens living in Nepal2004-04-05 09:09:31
Embassy of the United States of America
Kathmandu, Nepal

April 5, 2004


Voting Information for American Citizens in Nepal

The US Embassy encourages all American Citizens living in Nepal to register to vote as soon as possible.

On Saturday, April 10th from 1 pm to 4pm at Phora Durbar, in the courtyard by the snack bar, the Embassy will hold a drop-in voter registration time. Come by during this time and fill out your registration card. We look forward to seeing you there. You may also register at any time at the Consular Section in the US Embassy.

Registration cards are also available at the Consular Section in the US Embassy, Peace Corps Office, USAID, the American Center in Gyaneshwor and in the Community Liaison Office at Phora Durbar.

In order to register, American Citizens must identify a state in which to register. The state may be the state of most recent residency or the address of a family member or friend. American Citizens must also have an address here in Nepal where they can receive ballots.

American Citizens may use the US Embassy pouch mail to return the registration card to the US.

We are sending the second edition of the Embassy Kathmandu's Voting Gazette by separate cover.

Additional information is available at the US Embassy, on the US Embassy website, http://kathmandu.usembassy.gov or on-line at www.fvap.gov .

Please contact the Consular Section at the US Embassy if you have any additional questions.
 
 
Important Security Information for American Citizens in Nepal2004-04-03 00:35:30
This wardens message is being issued to alert American citizens that the five agitating parties are implementing a Valley-wide bandh (forced closure of businesses and vehicular traffic) today, April 3, 2004. By 0800 several incidents of violence, including vehicle burnings, violent street demonstrations in central Kathmandu and traffic stoppages are occurring at the moment. In addition, reports indicate that the road to the Tribhuvan International Airport has been blocked.

While shops in some parts of Kathmandu have opened, the U.S. Embassy advises Americans to remain at home today to the greatest extent possible and, under all circumstances, not to travel in the central Kathmandu areas. For further information about bandhs, guidance on security measures to be followed in the lead up to and during bandhs, and information about security conditions in Nepal, American citizens are strongly encouraged to refer to the Consular Information Sheet for Nepal which may be found on the Department of State's home page at http://travel.state.gov and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA.

Specific information may also be obtained by calling the Embassy at (977-1) 411-1179 and asking for the American Citizen Services unit of the Consular Section.
 
 
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