Somalia dangers

This item appears on page 18 of the January 2009 issue.

The Department of State warns against all travel to Somalia.

On Oct. 29, 2008, terrorists launched several coordinated attacks involving multiple car bombs against local and international targets in Somaliland and Puntland. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent and capability to attack air operations at Mogadishu International Airport. Kidnapping, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry and other violent incidents can occur in many regions. Interclan and interfactional fighting can flare up with no warning.

Unpredictable armed conflicts among rival militias are prevalent in southern Somalia, particularly in and around Mogadishu. This has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Somali nationals and the displacement of nearly one million people.

Travelers also are urged to use extreme caution when sailing near the coast of Somalia. Merchant vessels, fishing boats and recreational craft all risk seizure by pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa.