Travel Warning – Burundi April 22nd 2008

Published by Chris Harvey May 7, 2008

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

April 22, 2008

This Travel Warning updates American citizens on security conditions in Burundi.  American citizens should exercise caution while traveling in the country.  The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of its personnel in Burundi, and certain areas of the capital, Bujumbura, are off-limits.  This supersedes the Travel Warning for Burundi dated December 10, 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.  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.  In April 2008 rebel forces engaged Burundian military units just outside of Bujumbura city limits.  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.

The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of Embassy personnel and certain areas of the capital, 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.  Security information for American citizens in Burundi is posted at http://burundi.usembassy.gov/warden_information.html.

For further information, consult the Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution, 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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