On December 2, the US Embassy Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that it will be closed to the public again due to a terrorist threat against USG facilities in the capital city. Below is part of the announcement:
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to address a terrorist threat against USG facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will be closed to the public on Monday, December 3.
Actions to Take:
· Maintain a heightened level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness.
· Monitor local media for updates.
· Keep a low profile and notify friends and family of your safety.
· Review the country page and remain alert for potentially dangerous situations.
US Embassy Kinshasha previously “received credible and specific information of a possible terrorist threat against U.S. Government facilities in Kinshasa” on November 24, 2018. It initially closed to the public with only minimal staffing on Monday, November 26, 2018.
#DRC Security Alert: The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to address a terrorist threat against USG facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will be closed to the public on Monday, December 3.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 2, 2018
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is working closely with the gov. of the D.R.C. to address a terrorist threat against U.S. Gov. facilities in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will remain closed to the public on Monday Dec 3. More details here: https://t.co/xfQeYy7Nyv pic.twitter.com/NbhiUv7x2d
— U.S.Embassy Kinshasa (@USEmbKinshasa) December 2, 2018
— Global Unrest News (@warringworld) December 2, 2018
— giulia paravicini (@giuliaparavicin) November 30, 2018
The Democratic Republic of Congo accused Washington of sparking "needless fear" after the US embassy in Kinshasa warned of a "possible terrorist threat" against its mission in the country as it heads towards key elections. https://t.co/GjtPue6abL pic.twitter.com/bdOHcq7hGA
— AFP Africa (@AFPAfrica) November 26, 2018
US Embassy/Kinshasa received "credible & specific" info of a "possible terrorist threat against U.S. govt facilities" in country's capital city.#DRCongo security deteriorating as Dec 23 elections near.
Concerns for #Ebola resp, tho far away: Rising chaos.https://t.co/9vceX9vVO4
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) November 24, 2018
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice current as of October 29 notes the reporting on a number of suspicious packages and devices have been sent to prominent locations in New York City and Washington DC in the last few days, including the CNN offices at the Time Warner Center and the homes of former Presidents Clinton and Obama. “The FBI continue to investigate, but there is currently nothing to suggest that there is a specific threat to British nationals.” It also says “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should monitor media reports and remain vigilant at all times.”
Ireland’s travel advice, current as of October 28 notes that “There is an increased threat of terrorism and extremist violence worldwide and this should be borne in mind by Irish citizens living and working in the USA. The USA has also witnessed a number of mass shootings in recent years.” They forgot to add that massshootingtracker.org indicates that there has been 363 mass shootings in the United States in 2018 alone (a mass shooting defined to be an incident of violence in which 4 or more people are shot).
Australia’s travel advice says “The United States has more violent crime than Australia, although it rarely involves tourists. Shootings, including mass shootings, can occur in public places.” (We must add that these public places include a concert venue, a nightclub, elementary schools, colleges, churches, synagogues, a fast food restaurant, post office, a movie theater, private residences, military headquarters, neighborhoods, an immigration center, workplaces, and cafeterias).
New Zealand’s alert is the only one that specifically mentions the risk of domestic-based extremists that we’ve seen in 72 hours: “The United States remains a likely target for terrorist activity by domestic-based extremists and internationally-trained individuals and groups, and we continue to receive reports that terrorist groups are planning attacks against the United States. Terrorist attacks have occurred in the United States in recent years and a significant number of terror plots have been disrupted.”
11 Stars of David now stand in front of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. 11 people were murdered here while worshipping. A grey sky, on a misty, cold night, matches the mood of Squirrel Hill: somber. pic.twitter.com/Spacz9VsdT
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) October 29, 2018
— FBI (@FBI) October 26, 2018
Since Monday, 10 pipe bombs and suspicious packages have been mailed to top Democrats including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, news channel CNN and other hate figures for supporters of US President Donald Trump.
AFP explains more about the targets https://t.co/U9GxoO98uq
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 25, 2018
In the calm of a sunny afternoon, at a Kroger grocery store in the east side of Louisville, Kentucky, a 51-year-old white man named Gregory Bush walked right into the store with a loaded gun, targeted two black customers, and killed them. https://t.co/jzcapdUT9Q by @ShaunKing
— Bruno J. Navarro (@Bruno_J_Navarro) October 26, 2018
Straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Just moments ago, Lou Dobbs guest Chris Farrell (head of Judicial Watch) says Caravan is being funded/directed by the "Soros-occupied State Department". pic.twitter.com/QBSong7uk1
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 27, 2018
Who smiles while saying this? Kirstjen Nielsen on whether migrants will be shot at the border: "We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people," but agents "do have the ability, of course, to defend themselves." pic.twitter.com/wHqfdz8xwv
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 26, 2018
AND NOW THIS FROM CANADA’S BRUCE MACKINNON:
— The Chronicle Herald (@chronicleherald) October 25, 2018
Posted: 1:44 am ET
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Due to Hurricane Matthew, the State Department has authorized the voluntary evacuation of authorized family members of U.S. government employees from the The Bahamas, Jamaica, and Haiti. A Travel Alert for Cuba recommends that U.S. citizens defer travel to eastern Cuba.
|Alert||October 3, 2016||Cuba Travel Alert|
|Warning||October 2, 2016||Haiti Travel Warning|
|Warning||October 1, 2016||Jamaica Travel Warning|
|Warning||October 1, 2016||The Bahamas Travel Warning|
Posted: 1:36 am EDT
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On March 22, the State Department issued a Europe-wide travel alert for “potential risks to travel to and throughout Europe” following the multiple attacks in Brussels:
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels claimed by ISIL. Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation. This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.
U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.
U.S. citizens should also: :
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
- Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
- Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.
The State Department spokesperson has been unable to give a report on American casualties following the Brussels attacks and said in part:
Our embassy in Brussels continues to make every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in the city, including all government personnel. That work is ongoing. We know that a number of U.S. citizens were injured in the attacks, but we do not have an accurate figure right now. We do not know of any U.S. deaths at this point. I would note that it is still early on and that the situation is, understandably, still fluid and still uncertain. When we have more information that we can speak to, we will.
Pressed for preliminary numbers during the Daily Press Briefing, Mr. Kirby refused to give a specific number, or confirmed that members of the Mormon Church were injured in the attack. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has already publicly acknowledged that four of its missionaries were injured in the airport attack. Mr. Kirby was also asked if the State Department has been able to account for all chief-of-mission personnel, U.S. personnel to international organizations in the city. Mr. Kirby replied that “the work of accounting for U.S. citizens in the city, including government personnel, is ongoing. So as far as I know, that effort has not been completed.”
Is this the first time that the AP’s Matt Lee has actually walked out of the Daily Press Briefing in frustration?
Video below via YouTube/FreeBeacon:
— Domani Spero
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We’ve previously blogged about Burkina Faso here (see Burkina Faso Says Bye Bye Blaise: Martial Law Lifted, Nationwide Curfew, Shelter in Place Still On; US Embassy Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso Now on Martial Law; Embassy Staff Shelters in Place; Some of the World’s ‘Forever’ Rulers Are in Town — Meet Their Fashionable Ladies (Photos).
Yesterday, after three days of chaos, the State Department issued a Travel Alert informing U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Burkina Faso following the fall of the government of President Compaore:
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to or residing in Burkina Faso and recommends U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel. This Travel Alert will expire on January 29, 2015.
On October 31, Burkina Faso’s President Compaore resigned. The status of a transitional government remains unclear. There are incidents of looting throughout the capital city of Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, and other parts of the country.
The situation is dynamic and closures or openings of border and airports are likely to change and remain unpredictable for some time. Currently, land and air borders have been closed. U.S. citizens should stay informed and abreast of local media reports for land border and airport updates.
U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso may find that at times sheltering in place may be the only and best security option.
U.S. citizens residing in Burkina Faso should remain vigilant and utilize appropriate personal security practices. Avoid large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations; maintain situational awareness and exercise good judgment; be alert and remain aware of your surroundings; and stay abreast of the situation through media outlets.
Read in full here.
Second Burkina Faso soldier declares he’s head of state; vows to lead transition to democracy: http://t.co/jXgWdGa7p6
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 1, 2014
— VICE News (@vicenews) November 1, 2014
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) November 1, 2014
There seems to be a lot of that going around these days. pic.twitter.com/xYEabynqU1
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) November 1, 2014
Yesterday, the State Department expressed concern over the transfer of power in Burkina Faso:
The United States is concerned about the unfolding events in Burkina Faso. We regret the violence and the loss of life in Burkina Faso and call on all parties to avoid further violence. We reiterate our call for all parties to follow the constitutionally mandated process for the transfer of power and holding of democratic elections following the resignation of former President Blaise Compaore. We condemn any attempts by the military or other parties to take advantage of the situation for unconstitutional gain and call on all parties to respect the people’s support for the democratic process.
According to Vice News, Lieutenant Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida, who assumed power has been a member of the military for more than 20 years, and served as the second in command of the ex-president’s security regiment. This is apparently, the seventh time a military officer has seized power since Burkina Faso won its independence from France more than 50 years ago. If history is any indication, he may still be around in 2022 in the “land of upright people.”
* * *
— Domani Spero
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On August 28, the State Department issued a Travel Alert for screening and restrictions related to the Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa:
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to screening procedures, travel restrictions, and reduced aviation transportation options in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. This Travel Alert will expire on February 27, 2015.
Due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 Travel Warnings for those three countries advising against non-essential travel and provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD. The CDC also issued a Level 2 Travel Alert for Nigeria to notify travelers of the Ebola outbreak in that country. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website prominently features an Ebola Fact Sheet and links to the CDC Health Travel Warnings, Travel Alert, and general guidance about Ebola.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have also published and provided interim guidance to public health authorities, airlines, and other partners in West Africa for evaluating risk of exposure of persons coming from countries affected by EVD. Measures can include screening, medical evaluation, movement restrictions up to 21 days, and infection control precautions. Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period. Please note neither the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy have authority over quarantine issues and cannot prevent a U.S. citizen from being quarantined should local health authorities require it. For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.
The cost for a medical evacuation is very expensive. We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance that includes medical evacuation for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Policy holders should confirm the availability of medical care and evacuation services at their travel destinations prior to travel.
Some local, regional, and international air carriers have curtailed or temporarily suspended service to or from Ebola-affected countries. U.S. citizens planning travel to or from these countries, in accordance with the CDC Health Travel Warnings and Health Travel Alert, should contact their airline to verify seat availability, confirm departure schedules, inquire about screening procedures, and be aware of other airline options.
The Department is aware that some countries have put in place procedures relating to the travel of individuals from the affected countries, including complete travel bans. Changes to existing procedures may occur with little or no notice. Please consult your airline or the embassy of your destination country for additional information.
* * *
— USAID/OFDA (@theOFDA) August 27, 2014
According to the WHO’s Outbreak News, the total number of probable and confirmed cases in the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) as reported by the respective Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone is 3069, with 1552 deaths. The World Health Organization reports that the outbreak continues to accelerate with more than 40% of the total number of cases occurring within the past 21 days. The overall case fatality rate is 52%.
A separate outbreak of Ebola virus disease not related to the four-country outbreak was laboratory-confirmed on August 26 by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC’s index case was a pregnant woman from a village who butchered a bush animal that had been killed and given to her by her husband. From July 28- August 18, 2014, a total of 24 suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 13 deaths, have been identified in that outbreak.
As of this writing, Senegal also confirmed its first case of Ebola related to the four-country outbreak in West Africa.
- Senegal confirms its 1st case of Ebola (sfgate.com)
- Ebola Africa travel bans to be axed (bbc.co.uk)
- Ebola: ‘Even worse than feared’ (edition.cnn.com)
- DFA readies repatriation of OFWs, peacekeepers from Ebola-hit countries (businessmirror.com.ph)
The NYT reported on May 11 that Egyptian security forces have arrested three militants with ties to Al Qaeda who were planning terrorist attacks in Egyptian cities and against a foreign embassy. An unnamed western official told the NYT that the Egyptians had privately identified the embassy as the US Embassy in Cairo. Egyptian officials have reportedly told their American counterparts that the US Embassy was a target.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said at a news conference that the suspects had been arrested with 22 pounds of explosive materials and instructions on how to make bombs and build rockets and model airplanes to use in the attacks.
He said the suspects were ‘‘on the verge’’ of attacking an embassy when they were arrested.
The State Department would not comment on the Egyptian allegations. ‘‘We don’t discuss the specifics of our operations nor the exchanges we have with foreign officials,’’ said Jennifer R. Psaki, a department spokeswoman.
As of this writing, there is no USG Travel Warning issued for Egypt. There is a Travel Alert dated March 29, 2013 that talks about “the continuing possibility of political and social unrest, incidents of which have led to recent violence.” Also that “There have been no reports of U.S. citizens being targeted specifically because of their nationality; however, in isolated instances, Westerners and U.S. citizens have been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations.”
That March 29 alert made no mention of al-Qaeda or terrorism in Egypt. The Embassy’s Messages to U.S. Citizens do not appear to include any details about the October 2012 incident where an al-Qaeda cell was caught in Cairo’s Nasr City. At least, we could not find anything on the embassy or OSAC’s website.
We have several contacts in Egypt and one of them shared with us the security advisory sent by an international organization to its 1,000 plus personnel in Egypt on May 11. Below is an excerpt:
Egyptian security forces reportedly apprehended three militants with alleged ties to al-Qaeda in Alexandria and Cairo on May 11. Initial reports indicate militants planned to execute suicide bombings in central locations in Cairo and Alexandria in the coming days, including in Metro stations. Mohammed Ibrahim then added that their target was a “foreign embassy”, which other reports claimed was the French Embassy in Cairo’s Giza district.
The minister further stated that the cell is related to a previous cell that was apprehended in Nasr City on October 24, 2012. In that incident, forces raided a suspected militant hideout in Cairo’s Nasr City District, killing one suspect said to have been linked to the deadly September 11 Consulate in Benghazi.
The security advisory on its assessment says that the arrests highlight the continued presence of Islamist militants “throughout Egypt and their connection with transnational extremist networks.”
The advisory also notes that the militants of the Nasr City cell who were apprehended in October last year were arrested on suspicion of possessing weapons, engineering attacks in Cairo, planning assassinations of government leaders, and smuggling weapons from Libya to support the rebels in Syria. It warns that “A suicide attack in the immediate term highlights militants’ ability to advance beyond the preliminary stages of planning attacks, which coincides with the ongoing security and intelligence vacuum that emerged following the January 2011 revolution.”
Apparently, there were reports claiming that the target was the French Embassy. The advisory addressed this but appeared convinced that “there remains a high likelihood” that the US Embassy Cairo may have ben the target due to the “notable rise in Anti-US sentiments” since the Arab Spring:
In case the French Embassy was not the intended target, we assess there remains a high likelihood that other Western missions in Cairo may have been targets, primarily the U.S. and Israeli embassies. This is due to a notable rise in anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli sentiments in North Africa since the 2011 upheaval.
Also — the security advisory points to the potential risk for reprisal attacks in the aftermath of the arrests:
As details emerge regarding the background of the detainees, we assess that the risk for reprisal attacks in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt will increase. This threat is likely to include, but is not limited to, the targeting of security installations as well as foreign interests. Furthermore, in case the planned attack was indeed related to the situation in Mali, this threat applies to Western-affiliated interests in the Middle East and Africa regions as a whole, and not solely in Egypt.
Okay then —
We’re going to have to ask a delicate question – which will annoy folks at Embassy Cairo’s front office.
Did post management know that there is this threat? Does it know about the threat to the mission now?
If the answer is “no” — does that mean their local and intel contacts are plainly useless? But … but …see, apparently “Egyptian officials have reportedly told their American counterparts that the US Embassy was a target.”
Well, then if that is true, then the answer had to be a “yes.” In which case the policy of “No Double Standard” kicks in. That’s the part where if/when the Department shares information with the official U.S. community (as in travel warnings/alerts/consular info program), it should also make the same or similar information available to the non-official U.S. community if the underlying threat applies to both official and non-official U.S. citizens/nationals (see 7 FAM 052.1).
So far we haven’t seen anything from US Embassy Cairo. This is a curious case that’s bugging our OCD plenty.
Update on May 12@9:50 am: Wait — we posted this past midnight last night and this morning, a blog pal kindly knocked us on the head on this — telling the blog that it is “easy” to get around the No Double Standard policy. See, you only need to tell the public, if you’re alerting the official community. So, really — if you carry on as before, and you don’t change official behavior or advice, you don’t need to tell anyone.
Oops …. but… but … oh, dammit!!
If you missed our blog post on US Embassy Cairo on May 11th, see US Embassy Egypt: From the Real Post Reports, the New Cairo; Plus Western Embassy Targeted. That post merit at least a triple curse!
- Egyptian interior minister: Al Qaeda cell plotted suicide attack against Western embassy (longwarjournal.org)
- US Embassy Egypt: From the Real Post Reports, the New Cairo; Plus Western Embassy Targeted (diplopundit.net)
- Egypt ‘al-Qaeda linked plot on Western embassy’ foiled (allbreakingnews.wordpress.com)