United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
January 24, 2007
This Travel Warning is being re-issued to provide updated information on the security situation and to remind Americans of the dangers of travel to Burundi. This supersedes the Travel Warning of June 23, 2006.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. Burundi had been plagued by civil war since 1993 that often involved non-government, non-combatant targets. Gunfire in and around the capital resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. 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. Nevertheless, 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. The last recorded attack took place in July 2006. Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city. Due to insufficient resources, local authorities are often unable to provide assistance in case of need.
Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits, poses a high risk for foreign visitors in Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and carjackings. Armed criminals often ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.
Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006. However, minor children of embassy personnel are still prohibited from accompanying the employee to Burundi. All travel outside the capital by U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, and many areas of Bujumbura have travel restrictions for USG personnel. The U.S. Embassy lifted its curfew on U.S. Government personnel in April 2006, after the Burundian government lifted the curfew within Bujumbura that had been in effect for decades. In August 2006, the U.S. Embassy lifted the ban on U.S. Government personnel flying into Bujumbura at night due to improved security at the airport and on the airport road. Nevertheless, personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed with little notice.
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 areas that are off-limits to U.S. Government personnel for security reasons, and to register at the State Department’s travel registration web site, 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) 22-34-54, fax (257) 22-29-26.
6. 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 from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, consult the Consular Information Sheet for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov.
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