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Burundi Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Oct 20, 2005

This Travel Warning updates the current situation in Burundi and reminds American citizens of ongoing safety and security concerns. This supersedes the Travel Warning of December 7, 2004.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. A series of elections was held in Burundi between June and September 2005. Despite some isolated security incidents during the municipal elections in June, the polls generally passed peacefully. Although the security situation has stabilized in much of the country, the risk of sudden outbreaks of armed violence, acts of banditry or cross-border incursion by rebel groups remains. 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. Though six rebel groups have signed cease-fire agreements with the government, one rebel faction continues combat operations, particularly in the province surrounding the capital, Bujumbura Rural. 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. 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.

Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits, also 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.

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 and for information on areas off-limits to U.S. government personnel for security reasons.

U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register through 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) 22-34-54, fax (257) 22-29-26.

Updated information on travel and security in Burundi may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Consular Information sheet for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

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