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US State Department issues kidnapping travel warning for 35 countries

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The US State Department announced this week it was adding a “K” indicator to its public travel advisories to let American travelers know where they could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage.

“The new ‘K’ indicator is part of our ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to US citizens so they can make informed travel decisions,” the department said.

The agency has four levels of travel that it uses to let Americans know what to expect in each country:

  1. Exercise normal precautions
  2. Exercise increased caution
  3. Reconsider travel
  4. Do not travel

Currently, 14 countries are designated “do not travel”, nearly all because of ongoing armed conflicts.

Read more: 3 big reasons it’s so hard to tell just how violent the world’s most violent cities are

The new “K” indicator comes days after the kidnapping of US tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her guide, Jean Paul, in Uganda by captors who demanded a $500,000 ransom. The pair was rescued by Ugandan security forces last weekend.

Endicott and Jean Paul were abducted near Uganda’s border with Congo. Since then, the State Department has added the “K” indicator to the travel advisories for those two countries and 33 others, all of which we’ve rounded up here.

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