US increases travel alert in Maldives due to terrorism, civil unrest

Washington: The US Department of State on Thursday increased travel alert in the Maldives to Level 2, adding that terrorist groups may conduct “attacks with little or no warnings” targeting crowded places located across the country.

In a statement, the State Department said that the exercise increased caution in the Maldives due to terrorism and civil unrest.

“Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities,” the statement read.

“A country-wide state of emergency is in effect. Security forces have been deployed in Male to prevent public gatherings and anti-government demonstrations. Protests have also been reported in Maafushi where political prisoners are being held,” it added.

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The Department further urged people to avoid demonstrations and crowds.

“Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners,” the Department said.

The travel alert comes as a warning to other South Asian nations after a series of coordinated blasts rattled churches and various high-end hotels located across the country on April 21.

More than 250 people were killed and several hundred suffered injuries in the eight coordinated explosions that jolted Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter.

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In the wake of the attacks, Sri Lankan authorities, last week, banned two different local Islamist groups, including the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), and the splinter group Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI).

These two terror outfits are said to be affiliates of the Islamic States or Daesh.


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