Ivory Coast Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Dec 04, 2010
The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid any travel to Cote d’Ivoire at this time. Airport, land and maritime borders were closed amid rising tension in the aftermath of the second round of Presidential elections. U.S. citizens currently in Cote d’Ivoire are advised to limit their movements and exercise extreme caution. This replaces the Travel Warning for Cote d’Ivoire dated December 3, 2010, to advise U.S. citizens against travel to Cote d’Ivoire.
Cote d'Ivoire has been a divided country since a 2002 failed coup attempt evolved into an armed rebellion that split the country in two. Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and New Forces leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA) in March 2007, and a new government was formed with Soro as Prime Minister (PM).
On November 28, Cote d’Ivoire held round two of its Presidential election. During the elections, the government implemented and enforced a curfew. Several people were killed in election-related violence and tensions are currently high. Demonstrations are very likely, and the possibility that these can turn violent cannot be ruled out.
U.S. citizens should stay current on media coverage of local events, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Because of the increased probability of political unrest and potential violence, it is especially important for U.S. citizens residing in Cote d'Ivoire to maintain situational awareness and limit their movements. The United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) currently operates a peacekeeping mission, and France maintains the Force Licorne in Cote d'Ivoire in support of UNOCI.
Security conditions within the country, and particularly in the north and in the west, can deteriorate quickly and without warning. Embassy personnel traveling to western Cote d'Ivoire are often required to use security escorts provided by the United Nations. U.S. citizens planning travel to Cote d'Ivoire should consult the Embassy or their host organization(s) for the most recent security assessment of the areas where they plan to travel. Crimes such as mugging, robbery, burglary, and carjacking pose high risks for foreign visitors in Abidjan. Visitors should be careful when stopped in heavy traffic or at roadblocks due to the threat of violent robbery, and should avoid travel outside of the city after dark. When land routes to neighboring countries are open, overland travel to Liberia and Guinea is strongly discouraged, and caution is urged when crossing into Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.
The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, previously a partially unaccompanied post, allowed minor dependents to return to post as of June 2009 because of the improving situation at that time. However, Embassy personnel and dependents are required to adhere to strict security policies and procedures. Embassy employees are instructed to be cautious when traveling within Abidjan and not to travel outside of the city at night. Private U.S. citizens are urged to follow the same guidelines. Embassy personnel must obtain prior approval before traveling more than 35 kilometers outside Abidjan. Some requests may be denied, or multi-vehicle convoys may be required for security reasons. Because of the potential for violent eruptions and the potential need to shelter in place or leave affected areas, U.S. citizen residents in Cote d'Ivoire should maintain several days' supply of cooking fuel, food, and water at home, and ensure that their vehicles remain fully fueled at all times.
The U.S. Embassy is located in the Riviera Golf neighborhood of the Cocody section of Abidjan. The Embassy may close to the public temporarily from time to time in response to security developments. U.S. citizens who remain in, or travel to, Cote d'Ivoire despite this Travel Warning should consult the Department of State's latest Country Specific Information for Cote d'Ivoire and the Worldwide Caution. U.S. citizens should sign up with the Embassy by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on-line at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/, or by calling (225) 22-49-40-00, or faxing (225) 22-49-42-02. U.S. citizens in Cote d'Ivoire who need emergency assistance should contact the Embassy at (225) 22-49-40-00. U.S. citizens may also contact the Consular Section for assistance by writing to AbjAmcit@state.gov.
Current information on safety and security may also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, by calling 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).