FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, an American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. China's foreign ministry has rejected accusations this country steals technology after a former General Electric Co. engineer and his Chinese business partner were charged with industrial spying. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
DURBAN - The US has issued a warning to its citizens in Zimbabwe over possible civil unrest in the southern African country.

In a notice, “Zimbabwe Travel Advisory, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution”, released yesterday, the US warned its nationals to be vigilant in Zimbabwe “due to crime and civil unrest”.

“Violent crime, such as assault, car hijacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common.

“Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Read the safety and security section on the country information page,” the advisory reads.

It urged those deciding to travel to Zimbabwe to “stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds, as well as monitor local media for breaking events and to be prepared to adjust plans”.

The warning comes as tensions mount in the face of unending fuel shortages, crippling power cuts, the rising cost of living, runaway inflation and continued price hikes of basic commodities and transport.

Zimbabwe experienced a wave of violent protests in mid-January after the government sharply increased the prices of petrol and diesel, which resulted in a deadly and brutal crackdown.

Addressing a crowd at Dzivarasekwa Stadium in Harare on Workers’ Day, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa warned that poverty and the worsening economic crisis would push the people on to the streets to demonstrate.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union leader Peter Mutasa said that demonstrations would be the way to go if things failed to change. 

- African News Agency (ANA)