A person walks in front of the United States embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 25. The embassy closed because of gunfire on Tuesday. Photo by Johnson Sabin/EPA-EFE
Aug. 8 (UPI) -- In another sign of the heightening danger and violence in Haiti, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince closed on Tuesday after gunfire was heard nearby.
The statement from the embassy did not go into detail about the gunfire or if the compound was affected in any way.
"The embassy is closed today," officials said. "All personnel are restricted to embassy compounds until further notice due to gunfire in the vicinity of the embassy. Travel between the compounds is prohibited. Some routes to the embassy may be impacted due to continued rapid gunfire."
The embassy said personnel should avoid demonstrations and any large gatherings of people and not attempt to drive through roadblocks. It said that, if personnel encounter a roadblock, they should turn around and go to a safe area.
On July 28, the State Department issued a travel advisory in Haiti, ordering all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible families to leave. The Bureau of Consular Affairs on Thursday limited all U.S. government personnel in Haiti to the confined area around its Port-au-Prince embassy and prohibited them from walking in Haiti's capital.
"U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible by commercial or other privately available transportation options, in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges," a statement from Consular Affairs said last month.
"Kidnapping is widespread, and victims regularly include U.S. citizens. Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and even convoys have been attacked."