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Burundi Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jun 23, 2006

This Travel Warning is issued to inform American citizens that the Department of State has lifted the ordered departure status for adult family members at the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. However, there is still a prohibition on the travel to Bujumbura of minor family members and the Department continues to alert U.S. citizens to ongoing safety and security concerns in Burundi. This supersedes the Travel Warning of October 19, 2005.

Although adult family members are now permitted to return, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. The security situation has stabilized in much of the country, but the risk of sudden outbreaks of armed violence, acts of banditry, and cross-border incursion by rebel groups remains. Private Americans should exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times.

Burundi has been plagued by civil war since 1993. Six rebel groups have signed cease-fire agreements with the government, but 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 sometimes launch rocket and mortar attacks on Bujumbura. Gunfire in and around the capital has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. Vehicles on Burundis major roads have been attacked regularly and the Embassy assesses that further attacks are possible.

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.

The U.S. Embassy in Burundi operates with a limited staff and restricts the movement of U.S. Government personnel within the capital. All travel outside the capital by U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by the Embassys regional security officer. Personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed with little notice. U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from flying to, from, or within Burundi during the hours of darkness.

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 Departments 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.

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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