Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Ongoing Protests in Bujumbura (May 27, 2015)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura wishes to remind U.S. citizens that political demonstrations and protests – along with the potential for gunfire and other violence – may continue throughout the upcoming weeks in Bujumbura and other locations in Burundi. On 14 May, the Department of State issued a Travel Warning to announce the ordered departure of U.S. government family members and non-emergency staff, and the Embassy subsequently evacuated U.S. citizens who wished to leave the country.

In light of the ongoing security situation, we continue to advise U.S. citizens currently in Burundi to depart as soon as it is feasible by commercial or personal travel.

Although there are no current plans to conduct another evacuation, please contact us at if you need assistance departing Burundi so that we may assess potential options for assisting you.

All U.S. citizens are advised to remain vigilant at all times, be aware of your surroundings, and tune into local and social media for updates about the security situation. Avoid areas of planned demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. It is important to remember that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence without advance warning. The most recent demonstrations have resulted in police deployment of tear gas, water cannon, and the use of live ammunition, as well as protesters burning tires and throwing stones. If you find yourself near such an event, leave the area. If it is not safe to do so immediately, maintain a low profile until you are able to relocate. In the event that you hear gunfire nearby, find a safe place in an interior room, avoid windows, and remain low to the ground.

The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Burundi enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Burundi, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura is located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The telephone number is +257-22-20-7000. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, call the U.S. Embassy’s emergency number: +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.