Congo Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Apr 24, 2007
This revised Travel Warning for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) provides an update on the countrys security situation. It further notes that the Department has lifted the Authorized Departure for non-emergency Embassy personnel and eligible family members due to security concerns last month. This Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued March 27, 2007.
Although the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Authorized Departure for non-emergency Embassy employees and eligible family members, authorized in March 2007 due to security concerns, has been lifted. Fighting which began on March 22-23 has ended, and businesses, schools, and the airport are again operating normally. Nonetheless, conditions within the DRC remain dangerous.
Travel in the eastern provinces, especially in rural areas, remains unsafe due to continued sporadic attacks by uncontrolled militias. Periodic fighting continues in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Ituri, and northern Katanga, and other areas of eastern Congo.
Though U.N. observer forces are deployed throughout the country, unofficial armed groups and active duty troops in parts of the country are known to pillage, carjack, steal vehicles, kill extra-judicially, rape, kidnap, and carry out military/paramilitary operations. Large numbers of former rebel and government soldiers to be decommissioned, as a result of the earlier peace process, remain a security concern. Travelers have been detained and questioned by poorly disciplined security forces at numerous military roadblocks throughout the country; and government-imposed curfews, not currently in effect, could be reinstated upon short notice if the security situation deteriorates.
Travelers to the DRC frequently experience difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry, such as temporary detention, passport confiscation and demands by immigration and security personnel for unofficial "special fees." Visas are not available at ports of entry. All resident foreigners, including Americans, are required to register at the office of the Direction General de Migration (DGM) in the commune of their place of residence. Border closures of 24-48 hours duration can occur without much advance notice.
American citizens should avoid all public demonstrations and areas where crowds are gathered, exercise caution, and closely watch and listen for local and international news from reliable sources. Radio Okapi broadcasts in French on 103.5 FM at 0700, 0800, 1200 and 1800 as well as "flash" updates throughout the day. English-language news can be found on BBC at 92.7 FM. In times of emergency, the Belgian Embassy operates a French-language radio broadcast system at FM 98.8. Changes in security conditions may occasionally restrict the travel of U.S. Mission personnel.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in the DRC despite this Travel Warning are strongly urged to register with the Embassy in Kinshasa or through the State Departments travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs; entrance to the Consular Section is on Avenue Dumi, opposite Ste. Anne residence. The Embassys 24-hour number is 243-81-225-5872; callers within DRC should dial 081 225-5872. All Embassy telephone numbers are cellular phones as landlines are unreliable. The Embassy website is http://kinshasa.usembassy.gov.
U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's most recent Consular Information Sheet for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, both located on the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on safety and security is available toll free at 1-888-407-4747 from within North America, or at regular toll rates at 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).