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Central African Republic Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Nov 17, 2006

This Travel Warning is revised to strongly advise Americans against travel to the Central African Republic and to provide an update on the security situation. It supersedes the Travel Warning for the Central African Republic issued April 20, 2006.

American citizens are strongly advised not to travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) at this time. Americans in the CAR should consider departing. Active rebel movements, beginning with an attack from Sudanese territory and capture of the northeastern city of Birao, began on October 30 and are increasing in frequency. Rebel units are seizing territory and/or mounting attacks against military and civilian targets in all the northern prefectures of the country, from the Cameroon border on the west, along the northern frontier with Chad, up to the Sudan border on the east. Many civilians have died in these attacks. Rebel units are moving south and their leaders have announced their intention to attack the cities of Bria and Bangui unless the present government agrees to negotiations on sharing political power with the rebel front. The Government of the Central African Republic is unable to guarantee the safety of visitors to any part of the country, including the capital.

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

In Bangui, tensions are high due to unpaid civil servant salaries and skirmishes between government forces and opposition groups. 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. Two World Health Organization physicians were murdered by unidentified assailants on the outskirts of Bangui in April 2006.

Outside the capital many areas are lawless; rebel groups are active in the western, northern, northeastern, and southeastern provinces. The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel to take a CAR military escort when traveling outside the capital, particularly near the borders with Chad, Sudan, and Cameroon. The country 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 U.S. Embassy in Bangui has just two American officers and can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens.

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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