Posted: 6:13 pm PT
On September 30, 2016, the State Department placed family members of USG employees in the Democratic Republic of Congo on mandatory evacuation (see US Embassy Kinshasa Now on ‘Ordered Departure’ For Family Members of USG Employees). On December 2, the State Department issued a new Travel Warning and announced the “authorized departure” or voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel by December 10 due to the deteriorating security situation in the country. The Travel Warning also urged U.S. citizens to depart the country before December 19. Excerpt Below:
The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa warns U.S. citizens of the potential for large-scale demonstrations and civil unrest on/around December 19, the date on which President Kabila’s term in office was due to end before elections were delayed.
U.S. citizens who decide to remain in DRC through December 19 should prepare for the possible deterioration of security:
- Exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Stay home or at another safe location.
- Have emergency supplies of food, water, and medications.
- Let friends and family know that there might be communication disruptions.
Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available on the Travel.State.gov web page “What Can You Do in a Crisis Abroad?”
In addition, ongoing instability and sporadic violence continue in parts of the DRC. Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces 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 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 official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country, especially near government buildings and installations in Kinshasa. Be cautious when 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.