Relief News

Burundi Travel Warning


November 03, 2015
The State Department continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Burundi and recommends U.S. citizens avoid non-essential travel.This Travel Warning also informs U.S. citizens that the Department of State has terminated the Ordered Departure status, allowing eligible family members and non-emergency personnel who departed Burundi to return. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on May 14.

Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country's contested elections, an attempted coup d'etat, and the debate over the President standing for a third term. Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common but are typically not directed at foreigners and are usually limited to specific areas of the capital, Bujumbura. The terrorist organization al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi. It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi.

Demonstrations, gatherings, and even sporting events that are intended to be peaceful can turn violent without advance warning. For this reason, U.S. citizens should routinely monitor local media sources and the Internet for reports of demonstrations and unrest, and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind.

Travel outside Bujumbura presents significant risks, especially after nightfall. The U.S. embassy limits and monitors the travel of its personnel in Burundi. All movement by embassy employees outside the city from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is prohibited. Likewise, U.S. citizens should not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn. Armed criminals ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up when stopped in heavy traffic.

Corruption is endemic in Burundi and contributes to an environment where the rule of law is not respected. Criminals who have bribed local officials may operate with impunity.

For further information:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.

See Embassy Bujumbura's website for the latest emergency and security messages for U.S. citizens.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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