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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 Jamaica 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.

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At least 20 dead in Jamaica violence  
 
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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 Kingston area.

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 and police.

The unrest could affect the island's $1.3 billion tourism industry, although most visitors go to resorts in the north and west of the island, while the violence has been concentrated in the southeast.







RELATED SITE:
• US State Department - Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheets

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