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Consular travel advice: Sri Lanka

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NEWS RELEASE deparxment of foreign affairs and trade

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has reviewed its travel advice for Sri Lanka and advises that Australians visiting or resident in Sri Lanka should maintain a high level of personal security awareness and should exercise particular care in Colombo and Kandy. Travel to the northern and eastern provinces should be avoided. Large gatherings or demonstrations should also be avoided.

The security situation in the country remains uncertain as a result of the ongoing armed conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north and east of the country.

A state of emergency is in force throughout the country. The possibility of random terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, and particularly in Colombo and Kandy, can not be ruled out.

On 15 October 1997, a bomb blast near the World Trade Centre in the central business district of Colombo resulted in twelve deaths and more than one hundred injured including 34 foreign nationals. On 25 January 1998 a bomb blast in the city of Kandy resulted in sixteen deaths and more than twenty five injured. Further incidents of this nature, especially in the lead-up to

Independence Day celebrations in Colombo from 4 to 6 February 1998, can not be ruled out.

Road blocks and other security measures are likely to be encountered when travelling and should be treated with appropriate caution. Under emergency regulations, security forces may detain persons for questioning. People of Tamil ethnicity may be subject to additional questioning on these occasions and, possibly, detention overnight or for longer periods.

Australians intending to travel to the Ruhunu National Park (Yala) should be aware that security incidents have occurred in this park in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

It is recommended that Australians in Sri Lanka register their presence with the Australian High Commission, 3 Cambridge Place, Colombo 7, who can be contacted for further information on telephone 698767-8-9. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra can also contacted on telephone 02-6261 1111.

NB: While every care has been taken in preparing this travel advice, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees including any member o f Australia's consular staff abroad, can accept liability for injury, loss or damage arising in respect o f any statement contained herein.

Most recent previous issue: 22 October 1997.

D7 28 January 1998

Consular Travel Advice - Sri Lanka

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