UK issues travel advice on Bangladesh
20 Mar 2017, 22:50
The United Kingdom issued a fresh travel advice on Monday, asking its citizen to monitor news media before taking to the streets in blockade-hit Bangladesh.
‘If you’re currently in Bangladesh, or intend to travel there, even if you’re a regular visitor with family or business links you should monitor the media and regularly consult travel advice.,’ said a foreign office travel advice.
‘There is continuing tension between the government and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 20 Party Alliance. Protests and demonstrations can quickly turn violent and lead to clashes with law enforcement agencies. Violent attacks, incidents of arson, and vandalism can suddenly break out across the country, mainly in towns and cities.
‘Be vigilant at all times. If you see a demonstration developing, or are in a situation in which you feel unsafe, move away to a place of safety. Stay away from large gatherings, and avoid political offices and rallies. If you’re travelling during a hartal (strike) avoid demonstrations and protests as they may quickly turn violent. There could be attacks on property and public transport.
Armed robbery, pick pocketing, and purse snatching can occur. Don’t carry large amounts of money with you or wear jewellery in the street. Thieves often work in pairs on motorcycles or motorised rickshaws known as ‘CNGs’. Passengers using rickshaws, or travelling alone in taxis are particularly vulnerable, especially at night. Avoid using public transport if you’re on your own. Cycle rickshaws aren’t safe; they offer little protection for passengers in the event of a crash.
There have been reports of officials abusing their authority. Make sure you’re accompanied if you visit a police station.
‘There have been reports of theft and harassment at Dhaka and Sylhet airports. Beware of touts offering to carry your bags. Arrange transfers in advance. Taxis, including those serving the airport, often overcharge and drivers have been known to rob passengers. Passport theft at Dhaka and Sylhet airports is a particular concern. Be vigilant and make sure your documents and any valuables are kept secure at all times.
‘Abduction of children and businessmen for ransom is not unknown. Although this does not appear to be particularly directed at foreigners, you should be aware that the long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.
‘Consult a reliable local contact before going into unfamiliar areas or areas where there is a history of trouble.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours),’ read out the advice.