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Reviewed: 28 November 2011, 14:20 NZDT
Still current at: 25 May 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the volatile security situation surrounding presidential and parliamentary elections and we advise against all travel.
Elections are scheduled to take place in the DRC on 28 November 2011 with results announced on 6 December 2011. There is an increased risk of politically-motivated violence and unrest during the election period. A significant deterioration to the security situation is possible.
For some time we have strongly advised against all travel to the eastern, north-eastern and Bas-Congo areas of the DRC, including North and South Kivu Provinces and the Ituri district of Orientale Province due to the unstable security situation and a state of lawlessness. Clashes between armed rebel groups are common in the DRC, particularly in these regions. Rebel groups are also engaged in activities like kidnapping, car-jacking, looting, politically-motivated killings and sexual violence in these areas.
New Zealanders currently in the DRC are advised to keep a low profile and avoid all large public gatherings, protests and demonstrations as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. If you find yourself in an area affected by violence, we recommend you immediately leave the area if it is safe to do so, or stay indoors and heed any local advice. We recommend monitoring local and international media to stay informed of developments that have the potential to affect your safety and security.
As a contingency against a significant deterioration to security, we recommend ensuring you have adequate supplies of food, water, fuel, cash and essential medication on hand. We recommend checking your travel documents are up to date and easily accessible at all times.
Kinshasa’s main airport, Ndjili International Airport can close a short notice. If you have travel plans we recommend directly checking with your airline or travel agent the airport is open and flights are operating to their usual schedule. The ferry terminal in Kinshasa is also subject to closure with little warning.
Violent crime including armed robbery and car-jacking is an issue in the DRC, and the risks increase after dark. Foreigners are often targeted due to their perceived wealth. We recommend New Zealanders exercise a high degree of security awareness at all times and avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile phones and jewellery. It is not safe to walk alone at any time in the DRC. When travelling by car, it is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times and stay on the main thoroughfares.
We advise against travel by land through the borders with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The borders with Angola, Rwanda and Burundi are subject to closure with little notice.
General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.
New Zealanders in the Democratic Republic of Congo should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check your travel insurance covers travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo – exclusions may well apply.
New Zealanders in the Democratic Republic of Congo are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.