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US orders diplomats’ families to leave Sri Lanka, warns of possible terror attacks

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to staff and families for "Take Your Child to Work Day" at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 25, 2019. (Ron Przysucha/U.S. State Department)

The United States on Friday ordered all school-age members of families of American diplomats posted in Sri Lanka to leave the country saying terrorists groups “continue plotting possible attacks”, and raised its travel warning to “Level 3”, advising Americans to reconsider going there.

In an updated travel advisory issued following the Easter Sunday terrorist bombings, the US State Department also allowed the “voluntary departure” of non-emergency government employees of the American mission and their families.

The US embassy in Colombo has additional charge of Maldives.

The United States has joined a growing number of countries such as United Kingdom, Australia and Canada who have advised their citizens to cancel their plans to travel to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 according to a revised official count. Four of them were Americans, according to reports.

It could not be immediately ascertained if any other country has also ordered its officials and their families to leave the country.

The state department said in a travel advisory it had “ordered the departure of all school-age family members of US government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Department also authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.”

“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka,” the travel advisory added. Meant for US citizens, the advisory also upgraded the safety and security warning for traveling to Sri Lanka to “Level 3: Reconsider travel”, from “Level 2: Exercise increased caution”. “Level 4: Do not travel” is the most dire alert, advising against traveling to countries in that category.

“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,” the advisory added.


© 2019 the Hindustan Times (New Delhi)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.