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Ethiopia: Tensions Rising In Gambella City And Surrounding Areas Featured

Feb 2016 and ethnic tensions are rising in Gambella city and the surrounding areas. Federal authorities have been deployed and a curfew imposed. A number of casualties have been reported. 

FCO already advise against all travel in 4 woredas (districts) of the Gambella region and against all but essential travel in a further 3. Please monitor local news media for further information before travelling, remain vigilant and take care in crowded areas.

UK FCO advise against all travel to:

  • within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of the main road through Axum and Adigrat, and tourist sites close to the road (e.g. Debre Damo and Yeha);

  • areas off the principal roads/towns within 10 km of the borders with Sudan and Kenya;

  • within 10 km of the border with South Sudan;

  • the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Somali region;

  • within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region;

  • the Danakil desert area: north of the Mille-Djibouti and Mille-Chifra roads, and east of the towns of Bere-Ale, Shehet, Didigsala and Chifra;

  • the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of the Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region.

Terrorism Threat 

Credible reports that Al Shabaab have the capability to attack targets in Ethiopia.

October 2014 and the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a travel warning advising “those in Addis Ababa to avoid areas where both Ethiopians and westerners frequent”, and citing threat reports of Al Shabaab’s intent to target the Bole area of the city.

Kidnapping Threat

There is a real and high threat of kidnapping in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Healthcare and Insurance

Take out comprehensive international private medical and travel insurance before you travel to Ethiopia. 

Only private hospitals in Ethiopia offer a reasonable standard of basic care for minor health problems. Elsewhere, medical facilities including dentistry are extremely poor.

Carry a comprehensive medical pack when travelling in Ethiopia.

Make sure your medical and travel health insurance policy has adequate coverage to cover the cost of any medical treatment in Ethiopia. Evacuation coverage by air ambulance and repatriation is essential in case you need to be repatriated home, or to another healthcare facility, in another country, to access the correct level of care or healthcare specialist. 


Owning ivory is strictly prohibited in Ethiopia. Anyone caught in possession of ivory can expect to be detained by police.

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