“Terror Acts can happen with little or no warning, with terrorists targeting public areas such as tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, restaurants, places of worship, school campuses, and government facilities,” the US state department has warned US citizens about Bangladesh.
The US State Department, in the travel advisory updated on August 6, 2020, urged its citizens to exercise increased caution in the country due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
The US State Department urged its citizens to reconsider any plan to travel to southeast Bangladesh, including the Chattogram Hill Tracts region, citing crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
“Travel is dangerous to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) due to occasional communal violence and other security risks,”the advisory mentioned.
“Prior approval from the Government of Bangladesh Ministry of Home Affairs Office of Public Safety is required if you plan to travel to these areas,” the advisory added.
“In Bangladesh the crime rate impacting foreigners is generally low. However, travellers should be aware of petty crimes such as pickpocketing in crowded areas,” the advisory said.
The US Department of State has issued a Level-4 travel advisory for Bangladesh, warning US citizens against travelling to the country.
Heading titled “Do not travel to Bangladesh”, US advisory said, “Travellers to Bangladesh may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, quarantine requirements, stay at home orders, business closures, or other emergency conditions within Bangladesh due to Covid-19.”
There are four advisory levels from low to high risk. According to US State Department website, level 1 is blue (exercise normal precautions), level 2 is yellow (exercise increased caution), level 3 is orange (reconsider travel) and level 4 is red (do not travel).
“Crimes such as muggings, burglaries, assaults, and illegal drug trafficking constitute the majority of criminal activity in Bangladesh’s major cities, but there are no indications foreigners are being targeted because of their nationality. These crimes tend to be situational, based on time and location,” it read.
The state department also said the US government employees in Bangladesh are subject to movement and travel restrictions because of security concerns.
“The US government may have limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Bangladesh due to these travel restrictions, a lack of infrastructure, and limited host government emergency response resources,” the advisory also read.
The US State Department also suggested the citizens to visit its website and consult the country information page in the case they decide to travel to Bangladesh-
It advised the US citizens to see the US Embassy’s web page regarding Covid-19 and visit the webpage Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on travel and Covid-19.
The State Department further advised the US citizens to: avoid demonstrations and political gatherings; not physically resist any robbery attempt; get to a safe area and report any criminal incident to local authorities; enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and so it is easier to be located in an emergency; follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter; review the Crime and Safety Report for Bangladesh; always have a contingency plan for emergency situations; and to review the Traveller’s Checklist.