US govt surprises with Zimbabwe travel warning; cites crime and civil unrest

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By Staff Reporter

WITH three weeks to go to elections, tensions rising in the wake of a deadly bomb blast in Bulawayo, the US government this week issued a travel alert on Zimbabwe.

The advisory, issued Monday advised its citizens to “exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime and civil unrest.”          

“Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common,” the statement said.

It added that Zimbabwean police lack the resources to fight crime.

“Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

“Zimbabwe will hold general elections across the country on July 30, 2018. Due to heightened political tensions around the elections, acts of violence may occur at political rallies,” the U.S. government said.

Following the bomb blast two weeks ago that reportedly was targeted at President Emmerson Mnangagwa, police continue to grope in the dark for clues with little success.

Two men who were arrested for what was described by Mnangagwa as a “terrorist act” have since been released without charge.

The U.S. alert said for those who cannot avoid traveling to the southern African country they should: “Stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.

“Stay away from political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds. Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.

“Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible. US citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.”

This is the second advisory on the country after the first on June 26, days after the Bulawayo bomb explosion the US issued an alert on Zimbabwe.