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Reviewed 19 July 2012, 14:50 NZDT
Still current at: 20 June 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in the border areas with Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea and we advise against all travel close to these borders. We advise against all travel within 100 kilometres of the border with Somalia in the Afder and Liben zones of the Somali region and against all travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea. We also advise against all travel to the Danakil desert area (from the Dessie-Adigrat road to the Dessie-Djibouti road), and to the districts of Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare of the Nuer zone and Jore district of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region.
There is a significant threat to security in these areas due to cross border tensions, the activities of armed militant groups, risk of kidnapping and armed banditry and the presence of landmines. The Ethiopia/Eritrea border remains closed due to the unsettled border dispute and is a militarised zone where the possibility of armed conflict between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces continues to exist.
There is high risk to your security in Jijiga town due to the threat from terrorism; the districts of Dima, Goge and Etang of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region and the Gambella Wildlife Reserve due to inter-tribal clashes and violence relating to cross-border cattle rustling. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas.
There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Ethiopia (including Addis Ababa) due to the threat from terrorism and unpredictable security situation and we advise caution.
There is a threat from terrorism throughout Ethiopia. The Somalia based terrorist group Al-Shabaab has issued public threats against Ethiopia due to its military intervention in Somalia. New Zealanders in Ethiopia are advised to be security conscious at all times, particularly in public places and in areas known to be frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, including hotels, restaurants, bars, tourist sites and transport hubs.
There have been a number of recent incidents in Ethiopia:
In May 2012, a group of tourists travelling between the towns of El Dima and Kibbish in West Omo were fired upon by gunmen.
In January 2012, five Western tourists were killed and two kidnapped by gunmen in the Danakil desert area. The kidnapped tourists were released in March 2012. Three British nationals were kidnapped in the same area in 2007.
In April 2010, a British national was killed in an ambush near Danot town in Warder zone.
In December 2009, two explosions in two separate hotels in Kebridehar killed two people and injured nine others.
In January 2009, an explosion at the main bus station in the Mercato Market area of western Addis Ababa injured 32 people.
New Zealanders in Ethiopia should avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Explosive devices, such as grenades, are readily available in Ethiopia and are occasionally used in local disputes. On 14 and 15 July 2012, violent demonstrations took place in the Mercato Market area of Addis Ababa and further or wider unrest is possible.
General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Ethiopia should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Ethiopia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
New Zealand representation in Ethiopia
While New Zealand has appointed an Ambassador to Ethiopia, the Ambassador is based in Wellington. New Zealanders in Ethiopia should therefore direct any requests for emergency consular assistance to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Tel: +64 4 439 8000).