US issues new travel advisory for Sri Lanka

Washington/Colombo: In a new travel advisory, the US State Department has ordered the departure of all school-age family members of American government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The advisory issued on Friday also authorised the voluntary departure of non-emergency US government employees and family members.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. 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,” it said.

The advisory added that the US government had limited ability to provide emergency services to American citizens in Sri Lanka due to the security environment.

The advisory comes in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21 that targeted churches and hotels, most of them in Colombo, and claimed the lives of 253 people and injured over 500 others, in the bloodiest attacks in Sri Lanka since the civil war ended a decade ago.

Two days after the attacks, the US Embassy in Colombo had released a travel advisory warning that terror groups may be planning further attacks in the country.

It identified tourist spaces, transport centres, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, sporting and cultural events along with educational institutions and airports as potential target areas.