U.S. cautions Americans about travel to Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The U.S. State Department issued a public
announcement Monday advising U.S. citizens living in or traveling to
Jamaic a to "exercise caution in Kingston, Jamaica's capital."
The notice says there have been "ongoing gun battles between security
forces and politically-affiliated gangs in West Kingston" which have resulted in
roads and streets to the Norman Manley International Airport being
blocked for periods of time.
Jamaica's prime minister has called out the army to restore order following
three days of violence that took the lives of at least 20 people, including two
police officers and a soldier. More than 30 people have been injured.
The State Department announcement said while
American are "strongly urged to avoid West
Kingston" as well as downtown Kingston,
violence has not been reported outside the
Violence broke out over the weekend between
the police and gunmen in West Kingston's Tivoli
Gardens, a stronghold of the political opposition
Jamaica Labor Party, but came after months of
escalating tensions between the country's two main political parties.
Police were searching for fugitives, guns and ammunition. Opposition
supporters were seen blocking intersections to inhibit the movement of troops
The unrest could affect the island's $1.3 billion tourism industry, although
visitors go to resorts in the north and west of the island, while the violence has
been concentrated in the southeast.