Safety and Security
Since President Ouattara fully assumed office in May 2011, , incidents of political violence have gradually decreased, but some political tensions still persist with Gbagbo supporters launching violent attacks near the Liberian border in early 2013. Côte d’Ivoire has taken a lead in the military intervention in Mali against Islamist extremists and there is concern that Côte d’Ivoire could become a target itself. In March a cell of ten Egyptians believed to be planning attacks on French interests in Côte d’Ivoire was disrupted in a joint French-Ivoirian security operation in Abidjan.. Côte d’Ivoire is initiating security sector reform and as such, its national police and gendarmerie are in a transitional period. The military often performs traditional civilian law enforcement functions for which is it not properly trained. Military, gendarme, and police forces were killed in attacks by both anti-government and criminal elements in 2012 and 2013.
The Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of the Abidjan area, including emergency assistance, is limited. Many areas of Côte d’Ivoire are difficult to access, and travel in these areas is hazardous. Outside the major cities, infrastructure is poor, medical care is limited, and there are few facilities for tourists.
The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan and the Department of State continue to monitor the security situation in Côte d’Ivoire closely. U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations and/or political events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or political events. U.S. citizens in Côte d’Ivoire are advised to stay abreast of media coverage of local events and to remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, be aware of their surroundings, and use common sense to avoid situations and locations that could be dangerous. Swimming in coastal waters is dangerous and strongly discouraged, even for excellent swimmers. The ocean currents along the coast are powerful and treacherous, and several people drown each year.