U.S. warns against travel to Indonesia
By CNN State Department Producer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for Indonesia, warning U.S. citizens for the first time to "defer all non-essential travel" to the country including the islands of Aceh, Borneo, Maluku, Papua, Central Sulawesi and West Timor.
"Indonesia is experiencing a major political transition, and unrest and violence can erupt with little forewarning anywhere in the country," the advisory said.
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid on Wednesday threatened to declare a state of emergency in Indonesia if the nation's parliament proceeds with an attempt to impeach him over corruption allegations.
Wahid said he has the backing of Indonesia's powerful military to enforce the emergency and arrest his politcal opponents.
However, a high-ranking military spokesmen has denied this and warned Wahid not resist the impeachment process, setting the scene for considerable unrest as the August 1 impeachment date draws nearer.
The State Department added that some foreign travelers in the country have been subject to "arbitrary arrest, detention, deportation and, on at least one occasion, false accusations of espionage."
More than 30 visitors, mainly Australians, were recently detained while attending a conference on workers rights near the capital Jakarta.
It was alleged the visitors had violated their visa conditions and they were subsequently expelled from the country.
The U.S. warning also cites bombings of religious, political and business targets throughout the country.
It added that "events in the Middle East have sparked anti-American protests in the past."
The warning details trouble for Americans late last year on the island of Java, in the central city of Solo (Surakarta). A number of Islamic groups opposed to U.S. policy visited hotels in that area Sunday, undertaking "sweeps," trying to identify American citizens and order them to depart the country.
The warning also notes a number of acts of intimidation and violence directed at American companies and U.S. facilities in the country.
"Security officials have sometimes been unwilling or unable to intervene," it said.
The advisory additionally warns that the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has been active in islands in the southwest Philippines, near Indonesia.
Several American citizens are being held captive by the group, with one possibly executed, although this has not been confirmed.
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