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Travel Alert: Nepal
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
April 19, 2002
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to an
increase in Maoist violence, including within Kathmandu itself, during the
lead up to their call for bandhs (general strikes). This Public Announcement
supersedes the information provided in the Public Announcement for Nepal
issued on March 22, 2002. It expires on July 18, 2002.
Maoist violence throughout Nepal has increased over the past several months.
In some areas outside the Kathmandu Valley, the situation is tense and
uncertain, with armed conflicts between the Maoists and government security
forces occurring sporadically and unpredictably. Several recent incidents
of violence have occurred on main highways outside the Kathmandu Valley,
including the roads linking Kathmandu with the Tibetan and Indian borders
and the tourist destinations of Pokhara and Chitwan National Park.
Following a strategy of instilling fear in the populace to force compliance
with their announced bandhs, the Maoists have recently begun carrying out a
nightly rash of bombings and other acts of violence throughout the Kathmandu
area. While no tourists have been attacked to date, the dangers of
Americans being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time have increased
in the periods leading up to bandhs.
Outside the Kathmandu Valley, the Maoists are ramping up violence and other
acts of intimidation in the period prior to the scheduled bandh while the
armed conflict between Maoist and Government of Nepal forces continues to
intensify. A number of explosive devices directed against official
Government of Nepal vehicles have been detonated on main roads. Despite
official cancellation of the previously scheduled April 2 - 6 bandh dates,
private busses operating outside the Kathmandu Valley during that period
were stopped, torched and their drivers beaten. Americans are strongly
urged to limit road travel outside the Kathmandu Valley from during the days
leading up to and during any scheduled bandhs.
While popular support for bandhs has been waning, Maoist insurgents have
resorted to increasingly brutal acts of intimidation to enforce compliance.
In the past, bandhs have resulted in the shutdown of businesses, schools,
offices and vehicular traffic, causing mainly inconvenience to the lives of
Nepali residents and Western travelers. Vehicles belonging to the
Government of Nepal have been attacked with petrol bombs, reinforcing the
threat that civilian vehicles that defy the bandh may be subject to attack
as well. American citizens are urged to carefully evaluate the movement of
traffic on the streets before undertaking travel and to maintain a low
profile throughout the bandh period. It is possible that taxis, busses and
other forms of public transportation may not operate during a bandh. As
always, Americans in Nepal should avoid any demonstrations and closely
monitor the situation.
For further information on travel to Nepal, please consult the Department of
State's Consular Information Sheet on Nepal at http://travel.state.gov and
the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA.
Americans living in or visiting Nepal are strongly urged to register with
the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Nepal and obtain updated information on travel and security
within Nepal. The U.S. Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu,
telephone (977) (1) 411179; fax (977) (1) 419963. U.S. citizens may also
register by e-mail by accessing the Embassy's home page.