November 1, 2000
The Department of State urges American citizens to defer nonessential travel to Indonesia and all travel to Aceh, Maluku, Papua and West Timor. Those who must travel to Indonesia, or who are resident there, should exercise extreme caution. Serious violence has broken out in the past year on most major islands. Events in the Middle East have increased the possibility of further violence.
Indonesia is experiencing a major political transition, and unrest and violence can erupt with little forewarning anywhere in the country. This has been complicated by a rise in anti-American rhetoric by some national political leaders and extremist groups. In addition, events in the Middle East have sparked tensions between Muslim and Christian communities in parts of Indonesia, increasing the possibility of further violence.
Due to the continuing threat of serious violence, all travel should be avoided to the regions of Aceh, Maluku and West Timor. Further, all travel by U.S. and other foreign government officials to Aceh, Papua and the Moluccas (provinces of North Maluku and Maluku) has been restricted by the Indonesian government because of security concerns. Private Americans should adhere to these same restrictions.
The cities of Jakarta and Medan, in addition to other locations, have been struck by a number of bombings in recent months. The Jakarta Stock Exchange, foreign diplomatic facilities and Indonesian government buildings have been targeted. The U.S. Embassy has had indications that this wave of bombings may continue and that U.S. interests may be targeted.
On occasion, the U.S. mission in Indonesia may have to suspend services to the public or close because of security concerns. In those situations, the Embassy will continue to be available by telephone to offer emergency services to American citizens.
Some foreign travelers in troubled areas of Indonesia have been subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and deportation and, on at least one occasion, false accusations of espionage. In the central Java city of Solo, groups opposed to U.S. policy have undertaken or threatened "sweeps," trying to identify American citizens and order them to depart the country. There also have been a number of acts of intimidation and violence directed at American companies and U.S. diplomatic facilities. Security officials have sometimes been unwilling or unable to intervene in instances of unrest.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has been active throughout the islands in the extreme southwest Philippines, near Indonesia, and continues to hold an American citizen kidnapped in the Philippines. American citizens traveling to the border regions in Northern Kalimantan and North Sulawesi, in particular the smaller islands closer to the Philippines, are urged to review their security procedures.
American citizens resident or traveling in Indonesia are advised to exercise caution at all times, be alert to suspicious or unclaimed packages and vary times and routes and other aspects of personal daily routine and keep a low profile.
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