US warns its citizens on traveling to Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The US has warned its citizens not to travel to Somalia, days after 25 people were killed and 40 others injured in double suicide bomb explosion claimed by Al Shabaab group in the capital of Mogadishu.

US State Department urged its citizens not to travel to Somalia due to crime, terrorism, and piracy, noting the Horn of African country was still unstable and dangerous.

The State Department said terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia continue to attack Somali authorities, the troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and other non-military targets.

The warning further noted there existed particular threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, and shopping areas. Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting can flare up with little or no warning.

“Violent crime, such as kidnapping and murder, is common throughout Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliland. Illegal roadblocks are also widespread”, said in a statement by the State department said.

The statement further added that”a number of schools act as “cultural rehabilitation” facilities are operating throughout Somalia with unknown licensing and oversight. Reports of physical abuse and people being held against their will in these facilities are common”

The State department said the Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab terrorists continue to plot kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in Somalia.

“They may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and other areas where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, as well as government, military, and Western convoys”, the statement said.

It also indicated that pirates are active in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Somalia due to the lack of permanent consular presence in Somalia.