Posted: 1:20 am ET
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On September 29, the State Department issued a new Travel Warning for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also announced the evacuation of family members of U.S. Government employees assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa. Below is an excerpt:
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of continued instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The potential for civil unrest is high in parts of Kinshasa and other major cities. As a result of the deteriorating security situation, family members of U.S. government personnel have been ordered to leave the country beginning September 29. Most official U.S. government travel to the DRC has been halted. The U.S. Embassy is able to provide limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in the DRC. This replaces the Travel Warning dated August 8, 2016.
On September 19 and 20, violent clashes around the election process erupted between security forces and demonstrators, resulting in the loss of life and the destruction of property. Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the country and poor security conditions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services anywhere outside of Kinshasa.
Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces continue to operate in:
- North Kivu
- South Kivu
These groups 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 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 official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country, especially near government buildings and installations in Kinshasa. Be cautious if you are stopped by security forces. Requests for bribes are extremely common, and security forces have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay. In the past year, several U.S. citizens have been illegally detained by government forces or robbed of their valuables while being searched.
Read in full here.