US follows UK to tighten Sri Lanka advisory to all but essential travel
ECONOMYNEXT – The United States has tightened its advice on Sri Lanka to ‘all but essential travel’ following as authorities hunt down suspected Islamist bombers who killed over 250 persons in devastating co-ordinated bombings on Easter Sunday.
"Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka," the US State Department said raising an alert to level 3 ‘reconsider travel’, though still below the level 4 ‘do not travel’.
"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas."
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said Friday authorities are making rapid progress in hunting down members of two organizations who had carried out the attacks. On Friday police raided a hideout where explosives, robes and a backdrop on which a video published by Islamic State may have been made.
The State Department said it had ordered all school age family members of U.S. government employees to leave. The Department also authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
US citizens who decide to travel to Sri Lanka were advised to be vigilant and follow instructions of local authorities and follow the State department on Facebook.com and twitter.com.
Facebook is closed in Sri Lanka but Twitter is open.
The UK, Sri Lanka’s second largest source of tourists after India, tightened its advisory to all but essential travel and TUI, UK’s largest tour group, said it sent a rescue plane to Sri Lanka and has stopped selling the destination.
Everyone who has booked ahead will be allowed to change their destinations. (Colombo/Apr28/2019-SB)