Democratic Republic of Congo

This item appears on page 18 of the January 2009 issue.

The Department of State warns that certain regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly in the east, remain dangerous. Travelers should avoid Goma and environs. Fighting between armed rebels, Congolese military forces and UN peacekeeping troops has increased in North Kivu and continues in the provinces of South Kivu, Orientale, northern Katanga and, sporadically, Bas Congo.

Armed groups as well as active-duty and demobilized Congolese troops in parts of the country are known to pillage, carjack, kill extrajudicially, rape, kidnap and carry out military or paramilitary operations.

Travelers to the DRC frequently experience difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry, such as temporary detention, passport confiscation and demands by Immigration and security personnel for unofficial “special fees.” 

The US Embassy has prohibited official travel by its staff on all DRC-owned and -operated commercial airlines due to safety and maintenance concerns; there have been frequent incidents and crashes.

Rebels who in October took control of Virunga National Park (Dec. ’08, pg. 17) allowed rangers back into the reserve in November to continue work.