The U.S. State Department has allowed the departure of non-emergency personnel and family from its embassy in Khartoum due to "uncertain" security conditions following the expulsion of aid groups from the Darfur region, said a message issued by the embassy Tuesday.
According to the AP, the message warned that protests in the aftermath of the International Criminal Court's indictment of the Sudanese president for war crimes "may encourage violence" against Europeans and Americans. "The Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum until further notice," said the message, which also recommended Americans avoid travel to Africa's largest nation.
The message recommended that U.S. citizens in Sudan should have their own contingency plans to leave the country, adding that the embassy could close for security reasons without much advance notice. "The embassy's ability to assist Americans is limited, and dependent on the permissiveness of the security environment in Sudan," the message said. "American citizens in Sudan should ensure they have enough water, food, and supplies in stock in the event of an emergency."
Gunmen on Monday opened fire on U.N.-African Union peacekeepers in western Darfur.
On Tuesday, the Sudanese daily Akher Lahza carried a statement by conservative Islamic groups sanctioning attacks against the ICC prosecutor general and Darfur rebel leaders, and warned of suicide operations in Sudan and abroad. The U.S. Embassy said it has received information on terrorist threats aimed at American and European interests in Sudan.