The State Department issued an unusual warning today, cautioning Americans in South Africa against a possible terrorist attack in the popular tourist destination.
“The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has received information that extremists may be targeting U.S. interests in South Africa, to possibly include U.S. Government facilities and other facilities identifiable with U.S. business interests. There is no additional information as to timing or potential targeting,” the U.S. Embassy in Johannesburg said in an emergency message to U.S. citizens.
“Review your personal security plans; remain aware and vigilant of your surroundings, including local events, monitor local news stations for updates and follow instructions from local authorities. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”
That follows a general alert issued by the State Department on Sept. 4 warning American citizens to be alert around Friday’s 14th anniversary of the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks.
“While there are threats against U.S. citizens everywhere, there are groups in the region who are intent on harming U.S. citizens and U.S. interests,” U.S. citizens in South Africa were told.
The State Department travel information for South Africa stresses that “anti-U.S. violence is not common in South Africa,” and instead warns Americans to watch out for xenophobic attacks “directed at refugees or immigrants from other African nations” and strikes and protests that can get out of control.
Two travel alerts were issued for Africa on Sept. 4: Tanzania and Burkina Faso, both linked to possible violence surrounding election season.
Terrorist groups operate on the other end of the continent from South Africa, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Qaeda in Algeria and ISIS in Libya.