Avoid Democratic Republic of the Congo

This item appears on page 66 of the September 2011 issue.
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The US Department of State warns of the risks of travel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Kinshasa or DRC).

Elements of the Congolese military, as well as rebel fighters, remain a security concern in eastern and northeastern DRC. These armed groups are known to pillage, steal vehicles, kidnap, rape and kill.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is present near the border with Uganda, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Armed conflicts continue despite the signing of peace accords in 2008 and 2009 and the presence of UN forces.

Certain territory in South Kivu province is controlled by the Mai Mai Yakutumba, which was formed to resist Hutu forces that fled into the DRC after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Violent clashes there have resulted in the displacement of more than 1.9 million civilians since the start of the conflict.

Throughout the country, travelers are frequently detained and questioned by security forces at roadblocks and border crossings. Avoid roadblocks, if possible, the State Department advises, and if stopped at one, keep doors locked and crack the window in order to communicate. Requests for bribes are common, and security forces have occasionally injured or killed people who refused to pay.

Crime in Kinshasa includes armed robbery by groups posing as law enforcement officials, especially after nightfall.

You should not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly. Be wary of street children who may open your car door and steal belongings.

Avoid all public transportation; instead, hire private transport from a reliable source. Public boats are often overloaded or badly maintained; there have been multiple accidents in 2011, resulting in hundreds of fatalities.

Domestic air travel on Congolese or other local airlines in the DRC is not recommended. In July 2011 a crash in Kisangani killed over 70 passengers, and in April 2011 a plane crashed while landing in Kinshasa, killing 32.

Avoid taking photos in public, especially of government buildings and the airport, police stations, the presidential palace, border crossings and along the river, since doing so may lead to arrest.

Re public health concerns, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

The US Department of State warns of the risks of travel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Kinshasa or DRC).

Elements of the Congolese military, as well as rebel fighters, remain a security concern in eastern and northeastern DRC. These armed groups are known to pillage, steal vehicles, kidnap, rape and kill.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is present near the border with Uganda, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Armed conflicts continue despite the signing of peace accords in 2008 and 2009 and the presence of UN forces.

Certain territory in South Kivu province is controlled by the Mai Mai Yakutumba, which was formed to resist Hutu forces that fled into the DRC after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Violent clashes there have resulted in the displacement of more than 1.9 million civilians since the start of the conflict.

Throughout the country, travelers are frequently detained and questioned by security forces at roadblocks and border crossings. Avoid roadblocks, if possible, the State Department advises, and if stopped at one, keep doors locked and crack the window in order to communicate. Requests for bribes are common, and security forces have occasionally injured or killed people who refused to pay.

Crime in Kinshasa includes armed robbery by groups posing as law enforcement officials, especially after nightfall.

You should not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly. Be wary of street children who may open your car door and steal belongings.

Avoid all public transportation; instead, hire private transport from a reliable source. Public boats are often overloaded or badly maintained; there have been multiple accidents in 2011, resulting in hundreds of fatalities.

Domestic air travel on Congolese or other local airlines in the DRC is not recommended. In July 2011 a crash in Kisangani killed over 70 passengers, and in April 2011 a plane crashed while landing in Kinshasa, killing 32.

Avoid taking photos in public, especially of government buildings and the airport, police stations, the presidential palace, border crossings and along the river, since doing so may lead to arrest.

Re public health concerns, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.