The U.S. State Department has issued a warning to U.S. citizens to defer all nonessential travel to Ethiopia due to ongoing unrest.

The warning follows the government of Ethiopia's declaration of a state of emergency on Oct. 8. The Ethiopian Tourism Organization's assertion that visitors won't be affected by this "temporary state of emergency" and that tourist areas are safe with no curfews has not swayed the U.S. State Department from warning travelers to reconsider their plans.

The Oct. 15 State Department decree states that individuals may be arrested without a court order for activities they may otherwise consider routine, such as communication, consumption of media, attending gatherings, engaging with certain foreign governments or organizations and violating curfews. The decree prohibits U.S. and other foreign diplomats from traveling farther than 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) outside of Addis Ababa without prior approval from the Ethiopian government.

Internet, cellular data and phone services have been periodically restricted or shut down throughout the country, impeding the U.S. Embassy's ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

Due to the unpredictability of communication in the country, the State Department strongly advises U.S. citizens to register their mobile number with the U.S. Embassy to receive security information via text or SMS, in addition to enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

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