35 countries where the US State Department is warning Americans they could get kidnapped

American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott with her guide, Jean Paul Mirenge, in Uganda, April 7, 2019.

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American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott with her guide, Jean Paul Mirenge, in Uganda, April 7, 2019.
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Wild Frontiers/via REUTERS

  • The State Department this week announced a new risk indicator for its public travel advisories.
  • The new indicator, signaling a risk of kidnapping, has been added to the notices for 35 countries – Mexico, Haiti, and the Philippines among them.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

The US State Department announced this week it was adding a “K” indicator to its public travel advisories to let American travelers know where they could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage.

“The new ‘K’ indicator is part of our ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to US citizens so they can make informed travel decisions,” the department said.

Read more: 3 big reasons it’s so hard to tell just how violent the world’s most violent cities are

Currently, 14 countries are designated “do not travel,” nearly all because of ongoing armed conflicts. The agency has four levels of travel that it uses to let Americans know what to expect in each country:

  1. Exercise normal precautions
  2. Exercise increased caution
  3. Reconsider travel
  4. Do not travel

The new “K” indicator comes days after the kidnapping of US tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her guide, Jean Paul, in Uganda by captors who demanded a $500,000 ransom. The pair were rescued by Ugandan security forces over the weekend.

Endicott and Jean Paul were abducted near Uganda’s border with Congo. Since then, the State Department has added the “K” indicator to the travel advisories for those two countries and 33 others, all of which we’ve rounded up here.


Here’s a map of the 35 countries on the list:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

While some countries on this list are classified level one or two overall, many have areas within them where there is a higher chance of risks like kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and terrorism.


Afghanistan — Level 4: Do not travel

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Afghan security forces at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, June 4, 2018.
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Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Algeria — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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A demonstrator offers a flower to a police officer as teachers and students take part in a protest demanding immediate political change in Algiers, March 13, 2019.
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Reuters

The State Department warns of terrorism and kidnapping in the Sahara Desert.


Angola — Level 1: Exercise normal precautions

The State Department warns of crime and kidnapping in urban areas.


Bangladesh — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Policemen stand guard along a road leading to the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O’Kitchen Restaurant after gunmen attacked, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 3, 2016.
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Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, and kidnapping in Southeast Bangladesh, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts.


Burkina Faso — Level 3: Reconsider travel

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Presidential guard members at the Laico hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on September 20, 2015.
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Joe Penney/Reuters

The State Department warns of terrorism and kidnapping.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks and kidnappings in Burkina Faso and may conduct attacks anywhere with no warning,” the advisory reads. “Targets could include hotels, restaurants, police stations, customs offices, areas at or near mining sites, military posts, and schools.”


Cameroon — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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A Cameroonian police officer next to people waiting to fill jerrycans with water at the Minawao refugee camp for Nigerians who have fled Boko Haram attacks, in Minawao, Cameroon, March 15, 2016.
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Thomson Reuters

The State Department warns of crime and kidnapping in the north, northwest, and southwest regions, and parts of east and Adamawa regions. The agency warns of terrorism in the far north region and armed conflict in the northwest and southwest regions.


Central African Republic — Level 4: Do not travel

The Central African Republic government and 14 armed groups reached a peace deal after their first-ever direct dialogue aimed at ending years of conflict, the UN and African Union announced on February 2, 2019.

Still, the State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.


Colombia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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An ex-rebel of the FARC who is now a rafting instructor leaves an inflatable raft escorted by members of the police in Miravalle, Colombia, November 9, 2018.
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REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, and kidnapping throughout the country, and says Americans should not travel to Arauca, Cauca (except Popayan), Chocó (except Nuquí), Nariño, and Norte de Santander (except Cucuta) due to crime and terrorism.


Democratic Republic of the Congo — Level 3: Reconsider travel

The State Department warns of crime and civil unrest throughout the country, and says Americans should not travel to North Kivu and Ituri provinces due to crime, Ebola, and kidnapping. The advisory also warns of armed conflict in eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces.


Ethiopia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Ethiopian federal police officers detain a woman suspected of carrying explosives during the welcoming ceremony of Jawar Mohammed, a US-based Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo Protests, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, August 5, 2018.
source
Reuters

The State Department warns of civil unrest and communications disruptions, as well as civil unrest, terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines in the Somali Regional State.


Haiti — Level 4: Do not travel

The State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.


Iran — Level 4: Do not travel

The State Department warns of kidnapping, arrest, detention of US citizens.


Iraq — Level 4: Do not travel

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An ambulance arrives to the scene where an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul, Iraq, March 21, 2019.
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REUTERS/Abdullah Rashid

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Kenya — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

The US State Department warns of crime, terrorism and kidnapping.


Lebanon — Level 3: Reconsider travel

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Lebanese soldiers with barb wire in downtown Beirut, January 3, 2018.
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Thomson Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Libya — Level 4: Do not travel

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A boot stained with blood at the site of twin car bombs in Benghazi, Libya, January 2018.
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Reuters stringer photo

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Malaysia — Level 1: Exercise normal precautions

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Malaysian Customs officials with 1,187 kg of seized meth worth 71 million ringgit ($17.8 million) at a news conference in Nilai, Malaysia, May 28, 2018.
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REUTERS/Angie Teo

The State Department warns of kidnapping in the eastern area of Sabah State.


Mali — Level 4: Do not travel

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People gather to protest the government and international forces’ failure to stem rising ethnic and jihadist violence, in the Malian capital of Bamako, April 5, 2019.
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Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.


Mexico — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Residents near a Mexican marine as he guards an area after a shootout between gang members and the Mexican army in Mexico City, July 20, 2017.
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REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The State Department warns of crime and kidnapping.

“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the advisory reads. “The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in many areas of Mexico as travel by US government employees to these areas is prohibited or significantly restricted.”

The government recommends Americans don’t travel to the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas.

The advisory warns that Tamaulipas state is particularly dangerous:

“Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, is common. Gang activity, including gun battles and blockades, is widespread. Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Federal and state security forces have limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of the state.”


Niger — Level 3: Reconsider travel

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Nigerien soldiers stand guard at the border with Nigeria in Diffa, Niger, March 25, 2015.
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Reuters/Joe Penney

The State Department warns of violent crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.


Nigeria — Level 3: Reconsider travel

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and piracy, throughout the country, with particular risk of terrorism in the Borno and Yobe states and the northern Adamawa state.


Pakistan — Level 3: Reconsider travel

The State Department warns of terrorism throughout the country, with particular risk of kidnapping in the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Azad Kashmir area also has the potential for armed conflict.


Papua New Guinea — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

The State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, a polio outbreak, the aftermath of an earthquake, and kidnapping.


Philippines — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Marchers demonstration against plans to reimpose the death penalty and intensify drug war during the “Walk for Life” in Luneta park, Manila, Philippines, February 24, 2018.
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Thomson Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, a measles outbreak, and kidnapping, with higher risks in the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao.


Russia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

The State Department warns of terrorism, harassment, and the “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” throughout Russia. The government advises Americans to avoid the north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to terrorism, kidnapping, and risk of civil unrest, and Crimea “due to Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian territory and abuses by its occupying authorities.”


Somalia — Level 4: Do not travel

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A security officer looks over debris after a suicide car bombing in front of the Doorbin Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, February 24, 2018.
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REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, kidnapping and piracy.


South Sudan — Level 4: Do not travel

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South Sudanese security forces at a ceremony marking the restarting of crude oil pumping at the Unity oil fields in South Sudan, January 21, 2019.
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Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Sudan — Level 3: Reconsider travel

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Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans during a protest demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down in Khartoum, April 6, 2019.
source
Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Syria — Level 4: do not travel

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A boy looks at the camera near Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 5, 2019.
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REUTERS/ Rodi Said

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.


Trinidad and Tobago — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.


Turkey — Level 3: Reconsider travel

The State Department warns of terrorism and arbitrary detentions, with higher risk of kidnapping near the Syrian and Iraq borders.


Uganda — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Ugandan lawmakers in a fight in parliament ahead of debate on an age-limit amendment bill that would change the constitution to extend the president’s rule, in Kampala, Uganda, September 2017.
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Thomson Reuters

The State Department warns of crime and kidnapping.

“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, home invasion, kidnapping, and sexual assault, is common, especially in larger cities including Kampala and Entebbe,” the advisory reads. “Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.”


Ukraine — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

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Members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic forces block an area after pro-Russian separatist commander Mikhail Tolstykh died in an explosion in his office, according to local media, in Donetsk, Ukraine, February 8, 2017.
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Thomson Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, and violence during national elections.

The government doesn’t recommend travel to Crimea “due to arbitrary detentions and other abuses by Russian occupation authorities,” or to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, due to armed conflict and kidnapping.


Venezuela — Level 4: Do not travel

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Demonstrators at a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, March 31, 2019.
source
Reuters

The State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.


Yemen — Level 4: Do not travel

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A police trooper stands guard on a street in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, February 13, 2019.
source
Reuters

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, and armed conflict.