By US Department of State
This Travel Warning is being issued to alert American citizens to ongoing safety and security concerns in Bujumbura, Burundi and the surrounding Great Lakes Region. This supersedes the Travel Warning of August 12, 2003.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. The Department urges private American citizens in Burundi to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times.
Burundi has been plagued by civil war since 1993. As the result of a peace process undertaken by many of Burundi's political parties, a three-year transition government was installed on November 1, 2001. One rebel faction continues combat operations. Fighting between rebel forces and government troops can be intense, and often involves non-government, non-combatant targets.
Rebels have launched rocket and mortar attacks on Bujumbura and other major cities. Gunfire in and around the capital has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. Vehicles on the nation's major roads have been attacked regularly. The Embassy assesses that further attacks are possible.
The U.S. Embassy in Burundi operates with a limited staff and restricts the travel of U.S. Government personnel within the capital, while travel outside the capital is limited to travel by air only. Family members are prohibited from accompanying U.S. Government employees assigned to Burundi, and personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed. U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from flying to, from, or within Burundi during the hours of darkness.
The Government of Burundi maintains a curfew for Bujumbura, as does the U.S. Embassy. Curfew hours may be adjusted from time to time due to changing security conditions. Please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning should establish and maintain contact with the U.S. Embassy. American citizens needing updated travel and security information should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at Avenue Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 223-454, fax (257) 222-926.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including the Consular Information Sheet on Burundi, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.
First Published: May 12, 2004