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US warns travellers of S.Lanka terror attack risk

[AFP, Sunday, 28 June 2009 13:12 No Comment]

The United States issued Sunday a warning for its nationals travelling to or in Sri Lanka about the risk of possible terror attacks despite the recent crushing of Tamil Tiger separatists.

Sri Lanka defeated the Tamil Tigers last month but rebel remnants still posed a threat and could carry out assaults, the state department said in the latest travel advisory on its website.

"No new terrorist incidents have occurred since the government?s declaration of military victory over the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)," the advisory said.

"Despite the conclusion of hostilities, remnants of the insurgency group remain."

It also noted that Sri Lanka itself was maintaining a heightened state of security despite claiming it had ended the conflict, which lasted almost 40 years.

The US state department warned its nationals against travelling to the island’s northern province and to much of the east where battles took place till mid-May between government forces and the Tigers.

"Travel in some parts of the country remains highly restricted by the Sri Lankan government, with particular sensitivity concerning the large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps (in the north)," it said.

The military is holding nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who escaped the fighting in internment camps and has severely restricted access to them. About half a dozen foreign nationals of Sri Lankan origin are held in the camps.

The state department also warned US citizens of Sri Lankan origin that they may be subjected to additional scrutiny upon arrival and while in the country.

"In some cases, foreigners of Sri Lankan origin may be detained without their embassy being notified," the statement said. "The activities of journalists, researchers, aid workers, and volunteers receive particular attention."

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