Travel advisory issued for US following shootings

2016-07-10 09:08
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Nassau — The Bahamas on Friday issued a rare travel advisory for any of its citizens visiting the United States, recommending that young men in particular take care in cities affected by recent tensions over police shootings.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns visitors to "exercise appropriate caution" in light of recent episodes involving police officers and black men. It also advises people not to get involved in demonstrations and to avoid crowds.

"In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and co-operate," the statement said.

The advisory comes after two black men were shot this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St Paul, Minnesota, and five police officers were killed and seven others wounded at a protest in Dallas — marking the deadliest day for US law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

While the UK issued a travel alert following the deadly 12 June attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in which 50 people were killed and 50 more injured, no advisory has been issued following the recent police shootings. South Africa has also not issued any special advisory for travel to the US. 

The US regularly issues travel advisories for Americans visiting other countries.

In January, the US Embassy in Nassau put out a warning over crime in the Bahamian capital, which prompted complaints from business owners in the tourism-dependent island nation.

Similarly, the US issued a terror alert for South African in June, saying SA had been identified as a possible terrorist target and warned of a  "terror attacks by Islamic militants on Americans in South Africa".   

Increased security 

As a result two of the biggest malls in SA confirmed increased security measures and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) also noted the alleged terrorist threats and saying the necessary global standards are in place and it "will continue to monitor the situation". 

If you’re planning on travelling to a country with higher terrorism risk, keep the following precautions in mind:

- If you’re travelling from South Africa, be sure to register on the of  South Africans Abroad platform with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, which will allow them to assist you in the event of an emergency.

- Watch and read news about the country and region long before you head over. 

- Be vigilant in public areas and places that attract foreigners and westerners like embassies, hotels, restaurants, bars and businesses.

- Look out for anything suspicious, and if you see anything report it to the local police immediately – many terrorist attacks are foiled by the vigilance of ordinary people.

- Be clear about any routes you use and have a plan of action to follow in the event of an incident.

- Keep your mobile phone charged and with you, with emergency numbers programmed in.

- Inform colleagues, neighbours or hotel staff about where you're going and when you intend to return.

- Identify places like police stations, hospitals, official buildings along your route where you could seek refuge in an emergency. 

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