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Reviewed: 20 August 2012, 12:30 NZDT
Still current at: 19 May 2013
There is extreme risk to your security in Burundi, with the exception of the capital Bujumbura, due to civil unrest, armed banditry, kidnapping and cross‑border attacks by rebel forces and we advise against all travel outside Bujumbura.
There is high risk to your security in Bujumbura due to the unpredictable security situation, threat from terrorism and violent crime and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.
Civil unrest/political tension
Following 13 years of civil war, a ceasefire agreement was signed in 2006. Despite the ceasefire, sporadic fighting between rebel and government forces occurs. In 2010, largely peaceful elections were held in Burundi, however, a number of opposition groups boycotted the elections and some of their leaders remain in hiding. While the security situation has improved in recent years, it remains tense and unpredictable and could deteriorate with little warning.
New Zealanders in Burundi are advised to stay informed of potential threats to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend you avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.
There is a threat from terrorism in Burundi. Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group which claimed responsibility for the July 2010 bombings in neighbouring Uganda has made public threats to attack Burundi, specifically Bujumbura. New Zealanders in Burundi are advised to exercise a high degree of security awareness, particularly in public places and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
Violent crime, including armed robbery, mugging and carjacking is common throughout Burundi and the risk increases significantly after dark. Foreigners are often targeted due to their perceived wealth. In June 2011, a foreign national was violently kidnapped for ransom in Bujumbura during daylight hours.
New Zealanders in Burundi should exercise a very high degree of personal security awareness at all times.No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery, mugging or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence.For security reasons you should not travel anywhere at night and we advise against using public transport.
If you decide to travel outside the capital against our advice, we advise against driving between the hours of 5.00pm and 9.00am due to the threat from armed bandits. In addition, we recommend you contact the UN office in Bujumbura for the latest security advice before leaving the capital (Tel: +257 22 21 93 42).
There is a significant risk of kidnapping and armed banditry by rebel groups in areas close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. We strongly advise against all travel to this border area.
General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Burundi, the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide assistance to New Zealand citizens is severely limited.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Burundi should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Burundi are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.