Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Reports of Gunfire in Gatoke and Continued Protests in Bujumbura (April 29, 2015)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

United States Embassy Bujumbura, Burundi

The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens of reports of gunfire in the area of Gatoke, and ongoing protests in Musaga and Nyakabiga.  In the event that you hear gunfire nearby, find a safe place in an interior room and remain low to the ground. Do not go near windows. Political demonstrations and protests are expected to continue in Bujumbura and other locations in Burundi throughout the week.

It is important to remember that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. The most recent demonstration resulted in police deployment of tear gas, water cannon, and the use of live ammunition.  Follow current events via local and social media and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid areas of planned demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. 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.

U.S. Embassy Bujumbura 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 CautionTravel 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 to 17:15 Monday through Thursday and 7:30 to 12:30 on Friday. The telephone number is +257-22-20-7000. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.