Security Alert -U.S. Embassy Bujumbura, Burundi

Location: Bujumbura, Burundi

Event: The Burundi presidential elections are scheduled to take place May 20.

Over the past two weeks, the Regional Security Office has noted an increase of violence involving grenade attacks within Bujumbura Mairie. Specifically, two separate local bars were targeted with grenade attacks, resulting in fatalities and injuries.

As a precaution, the Regional Security Officer has decided to implement a temporary curfew for American employees of U.S. Embassy Bujumbura. This temporary curfew will start tonight, May 19. The curfew will begin at 7 PM each evening and will end at 5 AM the following morning. This temporary curfew will remain in effect until the preliminary election results have been announced, likely on Tuesday, May 26 or soon thereafter, at which time the Embassy will review its posture.

As a reminder, Burundi’s election day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. Please continue to employ best practices for your personal safety and security.

While election day is expected to be peaceful, caution is always advisable. Large gatherings can be unpredictable, and can cause traffic congestion and temporary road closures. Given the unique situation we face regarding COVID-19, exercising good judgement about social distancing and personal protective measures remains critically important.

Take this opportunity to review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, and monitor local news and social media for updates. Ensure that your home and family are prepared in terms of food, water, hygiene items, and the ability to stay in communication with family and colleagues. It is better to always be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security. Due to staffing limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, the ability of the Embassy to provide emergency assistance is extremely limited.

Additional Actions to Take:

  • Avoid areas and times where grenade violence has recently occurred, particularly bars and restaurants in the evening.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds and note that large gatherings can be unpredictable.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Burundi.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.