The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Somalia because of continuous activity by the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab. U.S. citizens should be aware of the threat of kidnapping in all parts of Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland. There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia. This replaces the Travel Warning dated May 24, 2016.
There is a particular terrorist threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, hotels, and shopping areas. In 2016, there were 14 documented attacks directed at hotels, restaurants, and the international airport in Mogadishu.
In addition, al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in government-controlled territories. In 2016, they targeted government facilities, foreign delegations’ facilities and convoys, and commercial establishments frequented by government officials, foreign nationals, and the Somali diaspora.
Al-Shabaab has repeatedly attacked the Mogadishu Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) with mortars and other weapons. The group has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter, and they detonated an explosive device hidden in a laptop on an airplane shortly after it took off from the airport on February 2, 2016.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) containing information on the U.S. prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace over Somalia. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
U.S. citizens should avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia due to the risk of pirate attacks. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure and detention by pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.