WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all travel to Somalia and are warned there is no official presence in the country should trouble arise, Washington said.
The U.S. State Department warned citizens that there is no embassy or other U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia, leaving citizens who are traveling in the area with little resources for assistance.
The State Department in a travel advisory warned that Somali militants are intent on kidnapping and killing foreigners, posing a direct threat to U.S. citizens in the area.
Somalia hasn't had a functioning government since 1991 and is one of the most corrupt nations in the world. The transitional government controls only a small fraction of the war-torn country. Al-Shabaab, a militant group loyal to al-Qaida, is waging war against forces loyal to the government.
The warning noted that "lines of control" in the Somali capital are unclear, adding relief workers and other foreigners are often the target of terrorist attacks.
Merchant vessels, fishing boats and recreational crafts are also prone to pirate attacks in the region and the State Department said vessels should travel in convoys along the Somali coast.
The U.S. Embassy in Kampala in a Warden Message last week warned that al-Shabaab was an active threat in the region.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for two attacks July 11 in Kampala that killed more than 70 people during celebrations for the World Cup soccer tournament.