Safety and Security
Terrorism continues to pose a threat to the safety and security of U.S. citizens traveling to Algeria. Terrorist activities, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur often, particularly in the Kabylie region east of Algiers and in the southern part of the country. Terrorists continue to use vehicle-borne explosive devices like the ones used in the June 2012 attack of a military facility in Ouargla and the March 2012 attack of a military facility in Tamanrasset. On January 16, 2013 terrorists attacked the oil facility near In Amenas, 800 miles southeast of Algiers, killing numerous hostages, including three U.S. citizens, and more than two dozen other western workers. On January 19, 2013, the Department of State authorized the departure from Algiers of eligible family members following the attack on the In Amenas oil facility and subsequent, credible threats of the kidnapping of western nationals. On February 19, 2013, the authorized departure of U.S. citizen eligible family members was rescinded, but a heightened security posture remains in place.
Kidnapping by terrorist organizations is a real threat to U.S. citizens in Algeria, particularly outside major cities (see below). The same group that has claimed responsibility for these attacks, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), operates throughout most of Algeria, including its southern region, and has kidnapped foreigners in neighboring countries. This kidnapping threat is noted in the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution. The Travel Warning for Algeria contains the most current information concerning the threat from terrorism.
The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid overland travel in Algeria. U.S. citizens who reside or travel in Algeria should take prudent security measures while in the country, including making provisions for reliable support in the event of an emergency. Additionally, sporadic episodes of civil unrest have been known to occur. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and maintain security awareness at all times. Visitors to Algeria are advised to stay only in hotels where adequate security is provided. All visitors to Algeria should remain alert and adhere to prudent security practices, such as avoiding predictable travel patterns and maintaining a low profile.
While the Consular Section is open for public services, the Embassy’s ability to respond to emergencies involving U.S. citizens throughout Algeria is limited and the Embassy may not be able to provide full emergency consular services in certain areas of the country due to security restrictions. U.S. government employees traveling between cities must be accompanied by a security escort. Overland travel is not recommended. U.S. citizens should also carefully consider the security risks involved when using public transportation, such as buses and taxis.