Bosnia-Herzegovina Travel Warnings for American Citizens
This Travel Warning has been revised to update security information and remind American citizens of the potential danger of travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This Travel Warning supersedes that of August 1, 2005.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens that there are still risks from occasional localized political violence, landmines, and unexploded ordnance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Criminal activity has also been on the rise, particularly in urban areas, with a marked increase in reports of residential break-ins, vehicle and petty theft. There exists a substantial organized crime presence throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina; however, violent confrontations between rival criminal elements usually occur in larger cities and pose little direct threat to Americans. In one suspected instance of a criminally-related act, an explosive device was discovered on a public transit bus in Sarajevo in December 2005. Travelers are warned to exercise additional vigilance in urban areas to avoid being victimized during confrontational crime.
The international community, including American interests, continues to be the target of occasional threats. Ongoing efforts to capture persons indicted for war crimes may result in isolated local disruptions and protests. Global events may also have an impact in some communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and lead to protests and demonstrations. In October 2005, a small group of individuals with extremist affiliations was arrested in Bosnia and Herzegovina on suspicion of planning terrorist acts. The publication in Western Europe of cartoons deemed offensive by some Muslims also motivated protests in Sarajevo in February 2006. While these incidents did not result in injury or loss of life, they are a source of concern.
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert, and may close temporarily or suspend public services to review their security posture. The Embassy in Sarajevo has closed in the past to review its security posture and may have to do so again. In those instances, the Embassy will make every effort to continue providing emergency services to American citizens. Official U.S. government employees and affiliated personnel under the Embassy's authority are subject to periodic travel restrictions when the security situation warrants it. These restrictions are subject to change on short notice and Americans who visit Bosnia-Herzegovina should contact the Embassy in Sarajevo for updated security information.
Although mine and unexploded ordnance clearance continues, there are still areas that international de-mining organizations consider unsafe. While urban areas have been declared "mine-safe," not all minefield locations are known. The de-mining community recommends that people remain on hard-packed surfaces and not approach abandoned and destroyed buildings and orchards, as un-cleared mines still surround them. Families traveling with children should be especially aware of this danger and make sure the children do not stray from safe areas. Official estimates of the number of landmines and other unexploded ordnance vary, and travelers may wish to visit the web site of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center at www.bhmac.org for the most current information regarding landmines.
We recommend that U.S. citizens avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile in dress and actions, and stay alert for changes in the security situation. The U.S. Embassy may not be able to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in areas where local authorities will not cooperate with or protect U.S. government officials.
Americans visiting or residing in Bosnia-Herzegovina are urged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Bosnia and Herzegovina. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina is located at Alipasina 43, telephone (387)(33) 445-700: fax (387)(33)221-837; Internet address www.usembassy.ba. On weekends, holidays, and after hours, an embassy duty officer can be reached at telephone (387)(33) 445-700. If after dialing you receive a recorded message, press "0" and then ask for the duty officer.
U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at travel.state.gov.
Von: 03.04.2006, communitydispatch.com