On 2 November 2021, the U.S. Department of State escalated the Travel Advisory for Ethiopia to “Level 4: Do Not Travel” from “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” The advisory reads in part as follows: “Do not travel to Ethiopia due to armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas. Read the entire Travel Advisory. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should consider departing now using commercial options.

“Travel to Ethiopia is unsafe at this time due to the ongoing armed conflict. Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence may occur without warning.

“Further escalation is likely, and may cause supply chain shortages, communications blackouts and travel disruptions. The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on November 2, 2021.

“The Government of Ethiopia has previously restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services during and after civil unrest. These restrictions impede the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with, and provide consular services to, U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

“The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. U.S. Embassy personnel are currently restricted from traveling outside of Addis Ababa city limits.”

The full travel advisory can be found here.

Analyst Comment: The escalated travel advisory follows the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency on 2 November, as well as an announcement by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – which is engaged in an ongoing yearlong armed conflict with the central government – indicating that the group is considering advancing to the capital Addis Ababa to oust Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and establish an interim government. The TPLF has captured several towns within 380 km (235 mi) of Addis Ababa. Abiy has urged citizens to take up arms against the TPLF, register weapons and prepare for possible fighting in Addis Ababa.

Media reports from the area can be conflicting and difficult to verify, but it is possible that the TPLF may reach Addis Ababa, or its general vicinity, in the near term. Travelers who remain in Addis Ababa in the event that the TPLF reaches the city are at a high risk of suffering collateral effects. Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (HAAB/ADD) remains operational; however, it is uncertain if it will remain so if military conflict occurs in or near Addis Ababa.