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Travel Alerts

18 Oct 2017

Togo: Lome: Continue to stand fast; avoid Be Kpota, opposition headquarters following unrest (Revised)

Members in the capital Lome late on 18 October should continue to stand fast and avoid the vicinity of the Be Kpota area and the opposition Democratic Alliance for Integral Development (ADDI) party headquarters. At least one person was reportedly killed and two others injured in clashes between demonstrators and the police there earlier on the day. The security forces fired live ammunition to disperse protesters. Unrest was reported throughout Lome, as well as in the cities of Bafilo (Kara region) and Sokode (Centrale region).

Advice

  • Continue to avoid the vicinity of Be Kpota and the ADDI headquarters and stand fast until the situation has fully normalised.
  • Avoid the vicinity of all protest sites in Lome, Bafilo and Sokode until the situation has stabilised. Liaise with local contacts for information on flashpoint locations and expect significant travel disruption in those cities; reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out.
  • Expect a heightened security force presence and travel disruption even after the situation has normalised. Follow all directives issued by the authorities.
  • Monitor our alerts on Togo for further details.

More detail

Unrest has also been reported in Adidogome, Agoe, Agoe Zongo, Attikoume, Baguida, Be, Be-Gakpoto, Be-Kpehenou and Kodjoviakope districts of the capital. The police have reportedly used tear gas to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators, who have also erected roadblocks. The developments are linked to anti-government protests previously scheduled for 18-19 October (see our separate report), which follow sustained demonstrations since late August against President Faure Gnassingbe's administration.

Protests against Gnassingbe's administration have been held in Lome and other cities since late August. Gatherings have continued despite a bill approved on 15 September to amend the constitution and introduce a limit on presidential terms. The opposition says the amendments do not go far enough, as they will not be applied retroactively, allowing Gnassingbe to run for two more terms.

Assessment

The 1992 constitution imposed a two-term limit on the presidency and allowed the Togolese diaspora to vote. However, former president Gnassingbe Eyadema (in office 1967-2005) removed these to extend his rule. Following his death in 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbe took office as president. Various opposition groups, including the Pan-African National Party (PNP), the Combat pour l'Alternance Politiqueen 2015 (CAP 2015) and the Groupe des Six, are calling for a return to the 1992 constitution to bring an end to the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbe family.

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17 Oct 2017

Turkey: Mersin city: Explosion strikes police bus in Guvenevler district; avoid area

Afghanistan: Kabul: Explosion reported near information and culture ministry; avoid area

Advice

  • Avoid the area.
  • Expect a heightened security force presence and travel disruption in the area.
  • Follow all directives issued by the authorities.
  • Monitor our Afghanistan alerts for further details.

Manager Advice

  • Account for staff.

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17 Oct 2017

Turkey: Mersin city: Explosion strikes police bus in Guvenevler district; avoid area

An explosion at around 17.30 (local time) on 17 October struck a police bus on Okan Merzeci Boulevard in the Guvenevler district of Mersin (Mersin province). Initial reports say that several people have been injured. Avoid the area and follow all directives. More to follow.

Advice

  • Avoid the area.
  • Expect a heightened security force presence and travel disruption in the area.
  • Follow all directives issued by the authorities.
  • Monitor our Turkey alerts for further details.

Manager Advice

  • Account for staff.

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16 Oct 2017

Madagascar: Defer non-essential travel to Madagascar until further notice amid plague outbreak

Members are advised to defer non-essential travel to Madagascar during an outbreak of plague which has led to over 60 deaths and more than 610 cases since August. The World Health Organisation (WHO) advised that the plague is present in urban centres, including the capital Antananarivo and Toamasina (Atsinanana region), and has the potential to spread further. The authorities from neighbouring Seychelles archipelago have put a six-day quarantine procedure in place for travellers entering Seychelles from Madagascar, while Air Seychelles has indefinitely suspended its flights to and from Madagascar.

Advice

  • Defer non-essential travel to Madagascar until prevention and control activities halt the spread of the outbreak. Your organisation's travel policy takes precedence over our advice; in the event of a difference, seek confirmation from your management.
  • Members undertaking essential travel to Madagascar or in-country members should ensure they are fully briefed on medical risks and mitigation measures. Avoid crowded areas such as markets and public transport and follow advice issued by the local authorities.
  • Remain abreast of the latest information by monitoring the World Health Organization website (English), the Institut Pasteur of Madagascar and the Madagascar Ministry of Health website (both French).
  • We do not hold information on specific flights. Members planning to fly to or from Madagascar with Air Seychelles should contact their travel agent and/or the airline directly for further information. Be prepared to adjust itineraries and make alternative travel arrangements.
  • Monitor our alerts for further developments.

More detail

Madagascar has annual outbreaks of the plague, usually between August and April each year, with cases generally peaking between November and February; most of these remain confined to rural areas. While around 400 cases are reported annually, this year’s outbreak has already seen over 600 cases identified in at least 14 of 22 regions, including in larger urban centres. The most affected areas are Antananarivo and its suburbs, particularly the capital’s Renivohitra district, Toamasina and the rural district of Faratsiho (Vakinankaratra). Other regions affected include Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana, Boeny, Bongolava, Haute Matsiatra, Itasy and Vakinankaratra.

Authorities have stepped up public health measures to contain the spread of the plague. Public gatherings have been banned and schools have been temporarily closed. Disinfection and rat extermination are being carried out in some tourist destinations including Antananarivo, Toamasina, Foulpointe (Atsinanana), Mahambo and Fenerive East (both Analanjirofo).

Airlines are still operating to and from Madagascar with the exception of Seychelles’ national carrier Air Seychelles, which has indefinitely suspended its Madagascar services since 8 October. The move was made after a Seychellois national died from the pneumonic plague in Madagascar while another man with a case of pneumonic plague came back from Madagascar to the Seychellois archipelago. Exit screening is being implemented for all travellers; those suspected of infection are being quarantined and tested. Comoros, Mauritius and South Africa have also put in place entry screening for passengers arriving from Madagascar.

Manager Advice

  • Account for staff.

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14 Oct 2017

Somalia: Mogadishu: Latest attacks underscore persistent militant threat, need to avoid non-essential travel (Revised)

Two explosions in the capital Mogadishu on the afternoon of 14 October highlight the persistent threat posed by militancy and the need to avoid non-essential travel to the city, where the travel risks are rated as EXTREME. A large truck bomb detonated near the busy Zoobe junction (K5 junction), close to the foreign ministry building and the Safari Hotel, killing at least 30 people and injuring several others. Gunfire was also reported in the aftermath of the blast and nearby buildings sustained significant damage. A second explosion shortly afterwards in the south-western Wadajir/Medina district did not cause any casualties.

Advice

  • Travel to Mogadishu should be for essential purposes only. Visits should be confined to the relatively secure airport compound and all unnecessary movement outside it should be limited.
  • Members intending to conduct business-critical travel in the city should assess the viability of secure movement by liaising with their local security provider. Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement.
  • Avoid spending time in the vicinity of government facilities, military interests, hotels and other likely target for militant attacks.
  • This advice is not exhaustive. Consult the Standing Travel Advice for Somalia for further guidance.

More detail

The police had received information on the truck bomb that struck the Zoobe junction, and were in pursuit of the vehicle when the explosion took place. There are conflicting reports regarding the casualty toll, which is likely to rise in the coming days. According to local contacts, the security forces were also aware of the second vehicle carrying explosives and were able to detain the driver before it detonated in Wadajir/Medina.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which at this point have not been confirmed to be related. However, the Islamist extremist al-Shabab group, which has a presence in large parts of Somalia and has a proven ability to stage attacks in the capital, is the most likely culprit.

While there have been several bombings in Mogadishu in recent months, the explosion at Zoobe junction was reportedly the largest to have occurred in the city for some time. The recent attacks, all attributed to al-Shabab, not only highlight the sustained threat posed by militancy in the capital but also demonstrate the group's continued intent and ability to stage complex attacks on hotels, government facilities, military interests and other targets.

Manager Advice

  • Account for staff.

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Control Risks

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Advice provided in this email represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd. Advice in this email does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

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