Congo-Kinsasha Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Aug 26, 2004
This Travel Warning is being issued to update security information on Congo-Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and to note that the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Congo-Kinshasa. This Travel Warning supersedes the Warning issued January 22, 2004.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Congo-Kinshasa. Despite efforts to advance the peace process following the April 2003 formation of a transitional government, there has been renewed fighting in South Kivu and wide-scale civil unrest in May and June 2004. Rioting and looting took place in many cities, including the capital Kinshasa. These events put residents, including foreigners, in danger and resulted in United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeper and civilian casualties.
Travel in the eastern provinces, especially in rural areas, remains unsafe due to continued sporadic attacks by uncontrolled militias operating there.
Changing security conditions result in periodically restricted travel by U.S. Mission personnel. Though a U.N. observer force is deployed to a number of locations throughout the country, 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. Americans should avoid demonstrations and areas where crowds are gathered, exercise extreme caution and review their personal security posture. There are numerous military roadblocks throughout the country. While government-imposed curfews are no longer in effect, they could be reinstated upon short notice if the security situation deteriorates.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. In the past, some travelers arriving with Rwandan, Ugandan or Burundian visas or entry/exit stamps in their passports have experienced problems at ports of entry. Land borders with Rwanda may temporarily close with little or no notice.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in 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. 243-81-884-6859, 243-81-884-4609; fax 243-81-301-0560. 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.