Threat level: High
Since the Arab spring uprisings of 2011 there remains a high threat of terrorist activities in Algeria. There is a high risk of ISIL infiltration and general ISIL growth in both the country and related region. Attacks in Algeria can include kidnappings, so it is extremely important that visitors are alert at all times.
The Algerian government are dedicated to ensuring the safety of international travellers. If you are planning on travelling outside of the main city areas, the authorities will want to be informed. They may also provide you with protection for such journeys. Notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you intend to travel independently. Help from the Algerian authorities should ensure that your trip is a hassle free experience.
It is advised that you stay in main hotels in the cities and you have them arranged prior to your arrival. Before entering the country, you should confirm your arrangements with a reputable tour operator to ensure your safety throughout your visit.
Recent security events
In early 2016 there was an attack using explosive munitions in central Algeria. Although there were no injuries or casualties, the country was in a state of emergency. In March of the same year, it is thought that a potential suicide bombing was avoided as police shot and killed the terrorist in the Kabylie region.
Algeria often faces spontaneous demonstrations, particularly in the capital. Such protests are often loud but relatively harmless. Violent demonstrations sometimes occur in the Saharan provinces of Ghardaia and In Salah, so if you are visiting these areas you should exercise extreme caution.
Due to the ongoing terror threat great care should be taken in the provinces of Adrar, Tamanrasset and Illizi, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bejaia and Skikda east of Algiers.
It is believed that there are a number of jihadist groups operating in Algeria and surrounding Sahel region. These include:
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M)
Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA)
All of these jihadist terrorist groups pose a threat across the country and in border areas of Algeria, Mali and Libya. They mostly pursue the establishment of Islamic law in the region and as such, attacks on anyone showing Western interest is highly likely.
In certain areas such as the larger cities, robbery is a common problem. You should avoid any areas you are not familiar with particularly at night time and do not hold large amounts of cash or valuable goods when travelling on foot.
Algeria maintains friendly relations with neighbours Tunisia and Libya, and with sub-Saharan neighbour Mali and Niger, as well as many other African countries. It is current working on issues related to the African Continent and was a key influence in bringing together Ethiopia and Eritrea to the peace table in 2000.
Most foreign nationals will require an international driving permit before being able to operate a vehicle in Algeria. British nationals are able to drive using their British driving licence providing it is valid and in date.
There is free movement in and around Algeria and the other cities although travelling at night should be avoided. Security precautions should be taken and common routes from airports to inner cities/hotels should be subject to “route planning” and reconnaissance.
All employees of foreign companies or organizations based in Algeria who are not Algerian citizens must contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before engaging in any travel within the interior of the country. The Ministry will notify local police of the planned travel and the police may choose to assign escorts for that travel.
The vehicular accident rate in Algeria is one of the highest in the world so you should take extra care when driving in the country. This may be due to the poorly maintained roads, lack of signs and reckless and inadequate drivers. Between coastal regions of Algeria there are safe and reliable train networks which are clean and well-policed. Buses pose a risk to tourists – they are not considered to be safe modes of transport pick pocketing frequently occurs whilst on board.