Congo Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Aug 08, 2016
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of ongoing instability and sporadic violence, including armed robbery, murder, and kidnapping, in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu; the new provinces of Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele and Ituri (northeastern part of the former Oriental Province); and Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami (northeastern and central parts of the former province of Katanga). U.S. citizens should avoid travel to these regions and exercise extreme caution elsewhere in the DRC. Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the country and poor security conditions in eastern DRC make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services anywhere outside of Kinshasa. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 4, 2015.
Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces, primarily located in the North Kivu, South Kivu, and the provinces of Bas-Uele, Haut Uele, Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, and the eastern part of Maniema Province, are known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, steal vehicles, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians can be indiscriminately targeted. Kidnapping for ransom is common, particularly in areas north and west of Goma, North Kivu. Congolese military and United Nations forces continue to operate throughout North and South Kivu and near the DRC’s borders with the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, particularly in and around Garamba National Park. Travelers in the region may encounter troop movements, armored vehicles and attack helicopters.
Travelers are frequently detained and questioned by poorly trained security forces at numerous official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country, especially near government buildings and installations in Kinshasa. Requests for bribes are extremely common, and security forces have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay. If stopped at a roadblock, remain cautious. In the past year, several U.S. citizens have been illegally detained by government forces or robbed of their valuables while being searched.