The British Embassy in Sana’a on Saturday issued a sternly-worded warning on the situation in Yemen, warning against all but essential travel to the country, and recommending that its nationals currently here leave.
On Sunday, the American Embassy issued its own warning, which was more brief but just as harsh. The British statement, was transmitted as follows:
In light of the increasing violence in Yemen, we advise against all travel to Yemen. We recommend that all British nationals in country without a pressing need to remain should leave by the commercial options currently available.
You should also be aware of the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and tribal violence. British nationals should remain in regular contact with the British Embassy in Sana’a.
Political demonstrations are continuing across Yemen, including in Sana’a, Aden, Hadramawt and Taiz.
Security forces and plain clothes policemen have been deployed and there are reports of clashes between demonstrators and the use of violence to disperse crowds.
There have been reports of a number of deaths during demonstrations in Aden , Taiz and Sana’a. Further protests are expected and violence is likely.
If you choose to remain in Yemen, you should avoid demonstrations and be particularly vigilant in public places. If in any doubt, remain indoors.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Yemen and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication.
British Embassy vehicles in Sana’a were attacked on the mornings of 26 April and 6 October 2010 and an incident on the evening of Wednesday 15 December targeted Western nationals in Sana’a.
We believe that terrorists continue to threaten further attacks including in Sana’a, Aden and other urban areas.
No part of Yemen should be considered immune from violence and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts.
Attacks could be indiscriminate, including against western and British interests, such as residential compounds, military and oil facilities, and transport and aviation interests.
All British nationals should maintain a heightened level of vigilance and keep a low profile at all times, observing the strictest of security measures and avoid any unnecessary travel.
If you choose to remain in Yemen, you should also consider making your own security arrangements for the duration of your stay and maintain contact with the British Embassy.
In particular we advise all British nationals to avoid high profile venues such as international hotels and other places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, such as landmarks and places where large crowds gather, embassies, government ministries and military establishments.
The US department of state quickly followed the UK’s example, producing the following warning:
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should consider departing Yemen.
The Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure from Yemen of the family members of U.S. Embassy staff and non-essential personnel. This replaces the Travel Warning for Yemen issued October 15, 2010.