Travel Warning: Democratic Republic of Congo

Contributed By RealAdventures

May 2, 2000

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to security and political uncertainties. U.S. citizens in the DRC are urged to review their personal security and, if appropriate, depart the country.

U.S. citizens, English-speaking individuals of other nationalities and travelers who appear to be members of military or missionary groups have sometimes been specifically targeted for arrest, detention, deportation, increased scrutiny and difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry, or other forms of harassment.

Travelers entering the DRC with visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi may experience difficulties at the airport or other ports of entry, including being detained for questioning or refused entry into the country. Anyone who wishes to travel outside of Kinshasa must obtain advance written permission from the Ministry of the Interior.

Extremist groups continue to make threats of violence against U.S. citizens and interests in the Great Lakes region. While operating out of northeastern DRC in March 1999, a rebel group specifically targeted and killed U.S. citizens and other English-speaking people in southwestern Uganda.

Unofficial armed groups operate in parts of the country, and are responsible for pillaging, vehicle thefts, carjackings, extrajudicial settling of differences, ethnic tensions, and continued military/paramilitary operations. Travelers run the risk of attack or detention. Travelers should avoid any area where demonstrations are occurring or where crowds have gathered.

The U.S. Embassy has imposed a curfew on all U.S. Government employees between midnight and 6 a.m. during the week and from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and urges those U.S. citizens who choose to come to DRC to adhere to this curfew voluntarily to reduce the possibility of questioning and detention by military authorities and police. DRC government-imposed curfews are often in effect and with minimal warning; please check locally to confirm current curfew status and times. Security personnel have been known to enforce DRC government-imposed curfews with gunfire.

Minor-aged family members are presently prohibited from accompanying U.S. Government employees assigned to Kinshasa.

Consular access to arrested/detained U.S. citizens cannot be guaranteed.

Ferry services between Kinshasa and Brazzaville remain sporadic.

For further information, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated April 23, 1999, to update the information about curfews.

Department of State travel information is available at Internet address: http:// U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, D.C. at 202-647-5225 from a touchtone telephone.

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