The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Burundi that at this time of year, Burundi security forces routinely increase the number of vehicle and home searches they conduct. The U.S. Embassy makes the following recommendations for handling these events safely and calmly.
- Slow down when approaching checkpoints. Turn on your interior vehicle light at night.
- Stop your vehicle at the checkpoint directed to do so by an officer/soldier. Comply with the officers’ requests and remain courteous and calm.
- Tell the officer you are a U.S. citizen and display color photocopies of your passport and other identity documents through the window. If possible, do not hand over originals; ask the police if they will accept the copies.
- Ask for permission to pull aside if the police officer or soldier insists on searching the vehicle.
- Only leave the checkpoint once instructed to do so by the officer.
- If you are arrested, request that authorities notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
- Report any harassment to the U.S. Embassy.
- Inspect the officers’ identification before they enter your house and write down their names.
- Only officers of the Public Prosecutors Office of the Judicial Police are legally authorized to conduct searches.
- Inform them you will be contacting the U.S. Embassy to report the search.
- Ask to see the warrant. If they do not have one, ask them to get a copy and return.
- Searches are conducted from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Accompany the officer(s) to each room to monitor the search. Stay calm, be polite, and comply with the police.
- A copy of the official report listing the seized items should be presented to you.
- Report the incident to the U.S. Embassy.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Burundi located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire in Bujumbura, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Mondaythrough Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or +1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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