Security Message for U.S. Citizens:
9/11 Anniversary Security Advisory
September 8, 2017
On Monday, we will observe the 16th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This anniversary should serve as a sobering reminder of the continued threat we face from terrorism. While the Embassy does not have any specific information about potential terrorist attacks within Myanmar, tensions are running high following recent events in northern Rakhine. There is the possibility that groups seeking to exploit that tension may choose the 9/11 anniversary to launch some kind of attack or conduct demonstrations. However, it is important to note that the threat of terrorism or political upheaval extends beyond the anniversary. Therefore, U.S. citizens are advised to exercise caution on 9/11 and beyond.
The prohibition on U.S. Embassy staff work travel to northern Rakhine – Maungdaw, Rathedaung, and Buthidaung townships – is still in effect. U.S. Embassy staff members are only permitted essential work travel on a case-by-case basis to all other parts of Rakhine State. U.S. Embassy staff members are permitted personal travel to tourist areas outside of northern Rakhine State, such as Mrauk-U and the Thandwe/Ngapali Beach area, but are asked to exercise caution.
As terrorist attacks often take place without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Terrorist groups, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, their associates, are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack to target crowds, including the use of edged weapons and vehicles as weapons. Extremists are increasingly attacking “soft” targets, such as high-profile public events, hotels, clubs, and restaurants, places of worship, schools, and tourist sites.
In multiple regions, including within Southeast Asia, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. The Abu Sayaf Group has repeatedly conducted ‘Kidnap for Ransom’ operations in the southern Philippines and eastern Malaysia. Terrorist attacks are often preceded by extensive surveillance, which is one of the reasons continued vigilance is so important.
Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and capability to attack places where U.S. citizens are known to congregate or visit. These attacks may employ vehicle-borne explosives, improvised explosive devices, or active shooters using a mixture of small arms and explosives. In November 2008, coordinated terrorist attacks on luxury hotels, a Jewish community center, a restaurant, train station, hospital, and other facilities frequented by foreigners in Mumbai, India, killed more than 170, including six Americans. This type of attack was repeated in Paris in 2015.
U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain vigilance and to review their daily security habits and practices. If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities, if possible, and leave the area immediately.
For further information:
See the State Department’s travel website<http://travel.state.gov/> for the Worldwide Caution<http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/worldwide-caution.html>, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Burma Country Specific Information<https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/burma.html>.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program<https://step.state.gov/step/> (STEP<https://step.state.gov/step/>) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. Please be aware that we may not be able to reach you immediately if you are traveling in remote or restricted areas.
Contact the U.S. Embassy in Burma, located at 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, at +95 1 536 509.
If you are in the United States, call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free or 1-202-501-4444 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).