Travel Warning – Burundi December 10, 2007

Published by Chris Harvey February 18, 2008

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

December 10, 2007

This Travel Warning is being re-issued to provide updated security information on the situation in Burundi and to remind Americans of precautions to take while traveling in Burundi.  Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006.  In December 2007, all dependents were authorized to return.  This supersedes the Travel Warning of August 9, 2007.

The Department of State continues to caution U.S. citizens traveling to Burundi.  Burundi was plagued by a civil war from 1993 to 2006 that often involved non-government, non-combatant targets.  In September 2006, the government and the last remaining hold-out rebel group from the peace process, the PALIPEHUTU–FNL, signed a cease-fire agreement.  While many of the cease-fire provisions have not been implemented and the rebels still retain the capability to conduct indirect fire attacks on the capital, Bujumbura has remained free of attacks since July 2006.  Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city.

Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to Bujumbura and Burundi in general.  Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, robberies, and carjackings.  Visitors should be careful when stopped in heavy traffic due to the threat of robbery by roving bands of criminals.  The U.S. Embassy has received reports of armed criminals ambushing vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.  U.S. Government personnel are restricted from walking on the streets during hours of darkness, and prohibited from using local public transportation.  Due to insufficient resources, local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance in case of need.

Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006, and all dependents, including minors, were authorized to return in December 2007. Nonetheless, Embassy employees are still subject to certain travel restrictions.  Certain areas of the capital of Bujumbura are off-limits to Embassy personnel.  In addition, the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer must pre-approve all travel outside the capital by U.S. Embassy personnel, and employees must travel in two-vehicle convoys.  The Embassy recommends that Americans not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn.

Americans who travel to, or remain in, Burundi despite this travel warning are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura for information on the latest Embassy security guidelines, and to register at the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 22-22-34-54, fax (257) 22-22-29-26.  For further information, consult the Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.  Updated information on travel and security in Burundi is available at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, and for callers in other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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