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Congo-Kinshasa Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 28, 2004

This Travel Warning is being issued to update information on the security situation and to note that the Department continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Congo-Kinshasa despite the improved security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). This Travel Warning supersedes the Warning issued April 7, 2003.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Congo-Kinshasa. While the April 2003 signing of peace accords between rebel groups and Kinshasa authorities resulted in the formation of a power-sharing government of transition and brought about an improvement in security in the capital, Kinshasa, and parts of the rest of the country, Congo-Kinshasa remains unstable. Travel in the eastern provinces, especially in rural areas, remains unsafe due to continued sporadic attacks by uncontrolled militias operating there. U.S. citizens who choose to travel to or live in Congo-Kinshasa despite this warning should continue to review their personal security situations and exercise caution.

A United Nations observer force is deployed to a number of locations throughout the country, and in many of these areas, security has improved. Nevertheless, unofficial armed groups and active duty troops operating in some parts of the country are responsible for pillaging, vehicle thefts, carjackings, extra-judicial killings, rapes, kidnappings, ethnic tensions, and continued military/paramilitary operations. The large number of rebel and government soldiers to be decommissioned as a result of the peace process poses another source of potential security concerns.

Travelers may be subject to detention and questioning by ill-disciplined security forces. Any area where demonstrations are occurring or where crowds are gathered should be avoided. There are numerous military roadblocks throughout the country. While government-imposed curfews are no longer in effect, they could be reinstated if the security situation deteriorates.

In years past, U.S. citizens, English-speaking individuals of other nationalities and travelers who appeared to be members of military or missionary groups have at times been targeted for arrest, detention, deportation, and increased scrutiny. They also have experienced difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry. Some travelers arriving with Rwandan, Ugandan or Burundian visas or entry/exit stamps in their passports also have experienced problems at the airport.

U.S. citizens who plan to enter Congo-Kinshasa despite this Travel Warning are urged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa upon their arrival and to obtain updated information on safety and security within Congo-Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy is located at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, tel. 243-81-225-5872. Entrance to the Consular Section of the Embassy is on Avenue Dumi, opposite Ste. Anne residence. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached at tel. 243-81-700-7383, 243-81-884-4609; fax 243-88-00228. Cellular phones are the norm, as other telephone service is often unreliable.

Updated information on travel and security in Congo-Kinshasa may also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the United States, and 1-317-472-2328 from overseas. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Congo-Kinshasa, and the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, which are located on the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov.

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