United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
December 05, 2007
This Travel Warning is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the ongoing safety and security concerns in Cote d’Ivoire and to urge Americans to exercise extreme caution while traveling in Cote d’Ivoire. This supersedes the Travel Warning of June 1, 2007.
Cote d’Ivoire continues to experience periodic episodes of political unrest and violence, sometimes directed against foreigners, since a 2002 failed coup attempt that evolved into an armed rebellion and split the country in two. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and New Forces leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political Accord (OPA) in March 2007 and a new government was formed with Soro as Prime Minister (PM). Although implementation of the accord has begun, the political situation has not returned to normal. In June 2007, rockets were fired at the PM’s plane while it was in Bouake. Four people were killed but the PM was unharmed; this incident underscores the potentially volatile political situation in Cote d’Ivoire. UN and French peacekeepers remain in the country.
The security situation continues to be poor and unpredictable throughout the country, particularly in the western part of Cote d’Ivoire. In May 2007, Embassy personnel traveling in western Cote d’Ivoire were subject to unprovoked violence from non-military personnel. Crime poses the highest risk for foreign visitors in Abidjan, including mugging, robbery, burglary and car jacking. Visitors should be careful when stopped in heavy traffic or at impromptu roadblocks due to the threat of violent robbery.
Given the tense and potentially volatile security situation, the Department of State urges American citizens to exercise extreme caution should they travel to Cote d’Ivoire, and to take special care when traveling outside Abidjan. Shops and businesses are open, and overland travel between the large population centers in both the traditionally government-controlled south and the formerly rebel-controlled north is possible. The airport currently operates normally and handles a number of flights by regional and European carriers. Land routes to the Ghanaian border are open.
The Department of State continues to prohibit minor dependents from accompanying U.S. government employees assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan. Embassy employees are asked to limit their travel within Abidjan and to avoid travel at night. Private Americans are urged to follow the same guidelines. U.S. Embassy personnel must obtain prior approval before traveling more than 35 kilometers outside of Abidjan. Some of those requests may be denied, or multi-vehicle convoys may be required for security reasons. Americans should ensure that their vehicles are fully fueled and that they have adequate cooking fuel, food, and water to last several days.
The U.S. Embassy is located in the Riviera Golf neighborhood of the Cocody section of Abidjan. The Embassy may close to the public temporarily from time to time in response to security developments. U.S. citizens who remain in, or travel to, Cote d’Ivoire despite this Travel Warning should consult the Department of State’s latest Country Specific Information for Cote d’Ivoire and the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert at http://travel.state.gov. Americans should register with the U.S. Embassy by completing a registration form online, by calling (225) 22-49-40-00, or faxing (225) 22-49-42-02. Americans in Cote d’Ivoire who need assistance should contact the Embassy at (225) 22-49-40-00. American citizens may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions in Cote d’Ivoire by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from all other countries.
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