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US warns citizens visiting Malawi

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

The United States (US) has issued a travel advisory on Malawi, warning its citizens of potential violent unrest in some rural areas.

In the advisory posted on US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs website, the US urges its citizens to exercise caution.

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It specifically states that they should exercise caution in rural areas “due to sporadic civil unrest”.

“If you decide to travel to Malawi: monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans,” reads part of the advisory.

US Embassy Public Affairs Officer, Douglas Johns ton, confirmed the embassy issued the precautionary measures for its citizens.

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In an email response to The Daily Times on Friday, Johnston said the State Department regularly updates travel advisories for all countries to which Americans might travel so that the American travellers can have up-to-date information.

“The Department updated Malawi’s advisory on December 18 2018 and the change made was only to remove specific references to bloodsucker-related violence in particular rural areas of Malawi. Otherwise, the advisory is the same as before. The overall advisory for Malawi remains normal precautions,” he said.

Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi, said there is nothing alarming.

“They have always been doing that. In fact, we coordinate, just to warn the people that they have to be extra careful. We are also telling Malawians to be careful both on the roads or when they are leaving their houses, even when they are going to the lake. They must take extra care because it is a season when the people that plan evil think it’s a soft spot for them to wreak havoc. Otherwise, there is nothing alarming [about the US security alert],” Dausi said.

In July, the US Embassy in Lilongwe implemented temporary restrictions on its staff when travelling to some districts in Malawi after reports of blood-suckers.

The embassy said there were additional reports of villagers forming vigilante night patrols searching for travellers, foreigners and suspicious strangers.

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