Important COVID-19 travel guidance
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Ethiopia.
Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and places of worship and during major gatherings like religious or sporting events.
The terrorist group Al-Shabaab, although based in Somalia, poses a threat across the East Africa region. The group continues to link attacks to regional countries’ military presence in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission, and continues to threaten all countries who have military forces in Somalia. The Ethiopian authorities have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and made a number of arrests. In November 2016, 8 Somali nationals were found guilty of trying to carry out terror attacks in public areas in Addis Ababa and jailed for 9 years.
Following recent political changes in Ethiopia, a number of indigenous opposition groups have renounced violent activities and have been removed from the Ethiopian Government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
There is a threat of kidnapping on the southern border with Kenya and in Ethiopia’s Somali region, particularly in the eastern areas to which the FCO advise against all travel. Historically there have also been incidences of kidnapping in the Danakil area of Afar region. You should be vigilant, particularly in towns and cities in the Somali region of Ethiopia, and including in areas where the FCO does not advise against all travel.
British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.