Don’t Travel To Cote d’Ivoire, US Warns Citizens


The United States has warned its citizens against travelling to the troubled West  African country of Cote d’ Ivoire.

A statement by the US Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid any  travel to Cote d’Ivoire at this time. Airport, land and maritime borders were closed  amid rising tension in the aftermath of the second round of Presidential elections.   U.S. citizens currently in Cote d’Ivoire are advised to limit their movements and  exercise extreme caution.  This replaces the Travel Warning for Cote d’Ivoire dated  December 3, 2010, to advise U.S. citizens against travel to Cote d’Ivoire.

Cote d’Ivoire has been a divided country since a 2002 failed coup attempt evolved  into an armed rebellion that split the country in two. Ivorian President Laurent  Gbagbo and New Forces leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political  Agreement (OPA) in March 2007, and a new government was formed with Soro as Prime  Minister (PM).

On November 28, Cote d’Ivoire held round two of its Presidential election. During  the elections, the government implemented and enforced a curfew. Several people were  killed in election-related violence and tensions are currently high. Demonstrations  are very likely, and the possibility that these can turn violent cannot be ruled  out.

U.S. citizens should stay current on media coverage of local events, and be aware of  their surroundings at all times. Because of the increased probability of political  unrest and potential violence, it is especially important for U.S. citizens residing  in Cote d’Ivoire to maintain situational awareness and limit their movements. The  United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) currently operates a peacekeeping  mission, and France maintains the Force Licorne in Cote d’Ivoire in support of  UNOCI.

Security conditions within the country, and particularly in the north and in the  west, can deteriorate quickly and without warning. Embassy personnel traveling to  western Cote d’Ivoire are often required to use security escorts provided by the  United Nations. U.S. citizens planning travel to Cote d’Ivoire should consult the  Embassy or their host organization(s) for the most recent security assessment of the  areas where they plan to travel. Crimes such as mugging, robbery, burglary, and  carjacking pose high risks for foreign visitors in Abidjan. Visitors should be  careful when stopped in heavy traffic or at roadblocks due to the threat of violent  robbery, and should avoid travel outside of the city after dark. When land routes to  neighboring countries are open, overland travel to Liberia and Guinea is strongly  discouraged, and caution is urged when crossing into Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.

The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, previously a partially unaccompanied post, allowed  minor dependents to return to post as of June 2009 because of the improving  situation at that time. However, Embassy personnel and dependents are required to  adhere to strict security policies and procedures. Embassy employees are instructed  to be cautious when traveling within Abidjan and not to travel outside of the city  at night. Private U.S. citizens are urged to follow the same guidelines. Embassy  personnel must obtain prior approval before traveling more than 35 kilometers  outside Abidjan. Some requests may be denied, or multi-vehicle convoys may be  required for security reasons. Because of the potential for violent eruptions and  the potential need to shelter in place or leave affected areas, U.S. citizen  residents in Cote d’Ivoire should maintain several days’ supply of cooking fuel,  food, and water at home, and ensure that their vehicles remain fully fueled at all  times.

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