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U.S. issues Eritrea security message as protests and gunfire hit Asmara

The United States embassy in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Tuesday issued a security message to its citizens in the country citing protests amid gunfire.

“The U.S. Embassy has received reports of gunfire at several locations in Asmara due to protests.  The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area where protests appear to be more prevalent.

“Streets in the downtown area may be closed, and police continue to maintain a significant presence,” the statement read in part.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea. The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats.

The cause of the protests have been varied. A section of the media said students were out protesting against repression whiles other reports suggested that students were protesting to demand the release of their school head.

Reports indicate that security personnel who were deployed fired shots into the air to disperse the students.
 

The U.S. maintains its travel warning with respect to the country. The September 25, 2017 warning read in part: “The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea. The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats.

“These restrictions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens outside the city of Asmara.”

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