US issues travel warnings against Lesotho

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The United States Department of State warns US citizens to defer travel to Lesotho at this time due to concerns over a possible deterioration of the security situation in Lesotho. The Department of State has ordered the departure of non-working eligible family members of the US Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho. The US Peace Corps is also taking steps to ensure safety of its staff and volunteers.

Following a violent confrontation between police and the army on Saturday August 30, leaders of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service have publically stated that the LMPS is not capable of performing its duties. The LMPS are not in uniform for fear of further attacks from the Lesotho Defense Force and are not conducting normal police security functions.

The US Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho is open for emergency services to US citizens. US citizens should be aware that depending on the security situation, the US Embassy may be forced to suspend operations without advance notice. The international airport in Maseru is currently operating normally, however, flights may be suspended if the security situation deteriorates. Land borders are also open at this time, but may close without warning. US citizens who remain in Lesotho despite this Travel Warning are urged to stay in their homes until the security situation returns to normal, to closely monitor media reports, and to follow all official instructions. US citizens who must leave their homes for any reason are urged to exercise extreme caution, be particularly alert to their surroundings, and to avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering.

US citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e. US passport, birth certificate, picture IDs, etc.) with them at all times or secure them by placing them in a safe, waterproof location. Additionally, all US citizens in the area are reminded to stay in contact with friends and family in the United States to keep them apprised of their current whereabouts.

All US citizens traveling to or remaining in Lesotho despite this Travel Warning are urged to register with the Department of State through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.