Zimbabwe police rubbishes US travel warning

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HARARE (Xinhua) — The Zimbabwe Republic Police on Thursday reassured locals and visitors to the country that despite a negative travel advisory issued by the United States government on its citizens wishing to travel to Zimbabwe.

The U.S. government on Tuesday issued “Zimbabwe Travel Advisory, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution”, warning citizens to be careful while in Zimbabwe because of “crime and civil unrest.”

“Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Read the safety and security section on the country information page,” said the advisory.

It also advised those deciding to travel to Zimbabwe to stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds, as well as monitor local media for any developments and adjust plans accordingly, and for citizens to carry copies of their passports and visas while keeping the originals in safe places.

However, ZRP said in a statement that the country remained safe to visit.

“Contrary to the Zimbabwe Travel Advisory Level 2 issued by the Americans recently, the Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to assure all Zimbabweans and visitors who include tourists to all parts of the country that the country remains safe, peaceful and secure.

“The ZRP is conducting general patrols, blitz (and) stop and search patrols in all central business districts, industrial sites, residential areas and other places which are usually frequented by the public with a view of getting rid of the malady of criminality,” the police said.

U.S. travel advisories have four levels, with Level 4 being the most severe as it advises citizens not to travel to certain identified countries.

The lowest advisory – Level 1 – simply says that there is some risk in any international travel as conditions in other countries may differ from those in the U.S.

Level 2 calls for increased caution, Level 3 advises citizens to avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security and Level 4 telling them not to travel to the identified countries or leave the countries as soon as it is safe to do so.