Exercise increased caution: US issues Level-2 travel advisory for Bangladesh, Level-3 for CHT

NEWS DESK

The United States has issued a ‘Level 2’ travel advisory for Bangladesh, urging its citizens to ‘exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism and the upcoming general election’ while travelling to the country.

However, for the Chittagong Hill Tracts areas, the Western superpower issued a Level-3 alert, urging its citizens to reconsider travel to the region “due to occasional communal violence, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and other security risks,” the US Department of State said on Thursday (12 October).

The advisory alert was reissued after periodic review with updates to crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and a short-term event, it stated.

Regarding travel to CHT areas, the US urged its citizens to reconsider travel to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban.

“Kidnappings have occurred in the region, including those motivated by domestic or familial disputes, and those targeting religious minorities. Separatist organisations and political violence also pose additional threats to visitors to the region, and there have been recent instances of IED explosions and active shootings. Prior approval from the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs Office of Public Safety is required if you plan to travel to these areas,” reads the US travel advisory.

The updated travel advisory also states, “Travelers should be aware of petty crimes such as pickpocketing in crowded areas. Crimes such as muggings, burglaries, assaults, and illegal drug trafficking constitute the majority of criminal activity in Bangladesh’s major cities, but there are no indications foreigners are being targeted because of their nationality. These crimes tend to be situational, based on time and location.

“Terrorist attacks can happen with little or no warning, with terrorists targeting public areas such as tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, restaurants, places of worship, school campuses, and government facilities.

“The next general election is anticipated to occur before January 2024, and political party rallies and other election-related activities have already commenced. Political rallies and demonstrations may be held with increasing frequency or intensity as the general election draws nearer. Travelers to Bangladesh should practice vigilance and remember that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

“Because of security concerns, US government employees in Bangladesh are subject to some movement and travel restrictions. The US government may have limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Bangladesh due to these travel restrictions, a lack of infrastructure, and limited host government emergency response resources.”

If any US citizen decides to travel to Bangladesh, the travel advisory urges them to avoid demonstrations and political gatherings.

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