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Reviewed: 20 June 2013, 18:50 NZDT
Still current at: 07 December 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Yemen due to the volatile security situation, the very high threat from terrorism and risk of kidnapping by either Al-Qaida or local tribal groups. We advise against all travel.
New Zealanders currently in Yemen are strongly advised to depart immediately, while commercial flights are still operational. Should the security situation deteriorate further, airports could close without warning and routes in and out of Sana’a and other major cities may be blocked.
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Yemen, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. The US and UK Embassies in Yemen, which have previously provided emergency assistance to New Zealanders, have reduced staffing due to the deteriorating situation and are extremely unlikely to be in a position to provide further assistance. You should take this into consideration if you decide to remain in Yemen against our advice.
New Zealanders who choose to remain in Yemen against our advice should avoid any unnecessary travel, keep a low profile and maintain a high degree of personal security awareness and take all possible security precautions to protect their safety. Extreme caution should be exercised in public places and, due to the kidnapping risk, we recommend varying travel times and routes to avoid establishing predictable behaviour. In addition, we strongly recommend seeking professional security advice. New Zealanders remaining in Yemen should have their own contingency plan for departure in place and ensure they have adequate supplies of food, water, fuel, cash and essential medication stockpiled.
There is a significant threat from terrorism in Yemen, particularly against Westerners and western interests. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in Yemen, and could be directed at any location known to be frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Possible targets for terrorist attacks include (but are not limited to) Yemeni government buildings and facilities, embassies, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, tourist sites, military and oil industry facilities, and transport and aviation interests. Statements made by Yemeni-based terrorists indicate an ongoing intent to attack Westerners and western interests in Yemen.
There is a significant kidnapping threat to Westerners in Yemen; including in the capital Sana’a as well as on the Aden/Taiz/Sana’a highway and in the provinces of Taiz, al-Jawf, Abyan, Sa’ada, Dharmar, Amran, Marib, Sana’a and Shabwah.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and tribal groups have kidnapped foreigners across Yemen, including in the capital Sana’a. Local and international media report two Westerners were kidnapped in Taiz in late May 2013. Kidnappers have reportedly demanded large ransom payments for foreigners and there remains a strong possibility that foreigners kidnapped by tribal groups could be on-sold to AQAP. A number of foreigners have been killed by their kidnappers in Yemen.
The political situation in Yemen remains uncertain. Politically-motivated demonstrations have taken place throughout the country and some have resulted in deaths and injuries. New Zealanders in Yemen are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and political rallies as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.
Piracy is a significant threat in Yemeni waters, especially in the Gulf of Aden. Incidents of piracy have also been known to occur in parts of the Red Sea. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report.
General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Yemen to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Yemen should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. Policy exclusions are likely to apply given the security situation in Yemen.
New Zealanders in Yemen are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.