Travel Alert Status
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Country Summary: Violent crimes, such as grenade attacks and armed robbery, occur frequently. Though Westerners are unlikely to be targeted, the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is high. Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to crimes.
Medical services in Burundi fall well below U.S. standards, and there are no adequate trauma services in the country. Emergency medical and fire services are limited or non-existent in some areas of the country.
There are ongoing political tensions in Burundi, causing sporadic violence throughout the country. Police and military checkpoints are common and can restrict freedom of movement. Police have conducted weapon searches in the homes of private citizens. In the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, as well as Mutimbuzi commune in Bujumbura Rural province, there have been armed attacks primarily conducted by groups operating from the eastern DRC. The border may close without notice.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens throughout Burundi. U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of Burundi and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant. These restrictions include limitations on all travel during hours of darkness (typically 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) and require prior approval for travel outside of the Bujumbura Mairie Central area. The former Central Market located on Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagasore is off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel at all times, due to high rates of crime.
Due to travel restrictions on U.S. Embassy personnel, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the following areas: the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke, Kibira National Park (including the park’s southernmost part in Muramvya province), and Ruvubu and Buriri Forest. Embassy personnel are also prohibited from transiting through Kibira National Park to reach Kayanza via the RN-10.
Safety and Security
In October 2009, al-Shabaab publically threatened to attack Burundi to retaliate for its participation in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The U.S. Embassy takes this threat seriously and regularly reviews the current security posture for U.S. government personnel and Travel Warnings for U.S. citizens in the region. Remain vigilant while performing your daily activities or while traveling outside of major cities to decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim of a crime or other violent acts.
Public demonstrations are generally nonviolent and well controlled by the police. However, any demonstration or spontaneous gathering has the potential to become violent. Avoid them.