Travel Warning – Central African Republic March 06, 2007

Published by Chris Harvey March 6, 2007

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

March 06, 2007

This Travel Warning is being re-issued to remind Americans of ongoing security concerns, despite the recent signing of a cease-fire with some rebel groups.  It supersedes the Travel Warning for the Central African Republic issued December 19, 2006.

American citizens are strongly advised not to travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) until further notice.  Active rebel movements are still present in the northern and northeastern regions of the country.  In northern prefectures from Ouham to Gribingui, rogue army troops and robbers are still present and pose a threat to road travel. The Central African Republic held peaceful elections in March 2005, but the country’s economic and security situations have not improved markedly.  The rebels wish to overthrow the constitutionally-elected president and seek new elections.

The Central African government is unable to guarantee the safety of visitors to any part of the country including the capital.  Outside the capital many areas are lawless; some rebel groups remain active in the western, northern, northeastern, and southeastern provinces despite a cease-fire signed in early February.  The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel to exercise caution in traveling to all parts of the country.  Two World Health Organization physicians were murdered by unidentified assailants in central CAR in April 2006. In the past two months, visitors traveling with armed escorts experienced several attacks.  The Embassy now advises Americans traveling outside the capital not to travel with a CAR military escort, or any armed escort, as the armed escort may draw fire from rebel troops.

U.S. citizens already in the Central African Republic should contact the American Embassy in Bangui to verify their locations and contact points.  They should avoid travel outside the capital unless absolutely necessary and exercise caution at all times, particularly at public gatherings.

In Bangui, tensions remain high due to unpaid civil servant salaries and skirmishes between government forces and opposition groups, as well as due to aggressive police actions.  There are approximately 300 peacekeeping troops from neighboring member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of Central Africa (CEMAC) that move in and out of the capital.  CAR security forces, sometimes with French military assistance, staff checkpoints throughout the city.  Some crimes are perpetrated by uniformed CAR security and military personnel.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangui has just four American officers and can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens at this time.

U.S. citizens in the CAR are strongly urged to register on the State Department’s web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bangui.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in the CAR is located at Avenue David Dacko, B.P. 924, Bangui; tel. (236) 61-02-00; fax (236) 61-44-94.  For additional information on safety and security in the CAR, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon, at telephone (237) 223-4014, (237) 223-0512, or 223-0581; fax (237) 223-0753; web site http://yaounde.usembassy.gov/.  Americans may also obtain updated information from the American Embassy in N’djamena, Chad, at telephone (235) 51-70-09, 51-92-33 or 51-90-52; fax (235) 51-56-54; web site http://ndjamena.usembassy.gov/.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s most recent Consular Information Sheet for Central African Republic and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, which are located on the Department’s web site at http://travel.state.gov.  Up-to-date information on safety and security is also available at 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers from other countries, on 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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