Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 8 February 2017, 17:37 NZDT
  • Still current at: 25 February 2018

Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security in Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, potential for violent civil unrest, threat of terrorism and violent crime. We advise against all travel.

New Zealanders currently in Burundi are advised to depart by commercial means as soon as it is safe to do so. International aiports and land borders could be subject to closure with little warning.

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Political tension/Civil Unrest
The political and security situation in Burundi is volatile and unpredictable and could deteriorate with little warning.

There has been ongoing, sporadic violence and unrest since April 2015, in response to political developments. Violent incidents, armed clashes, protests and demonstrations have occurred in the capital Bujumbura and other centres and have resulted in a significant number of deaths. Tensions remain very high and further violence is likely.

New Zealanders who choose to remain in Burundi despite our advice are advised to avoid all unnecessary travel and maintain a high degree of personal security awareness. You should monitor developments closely through the media and other local information sources and avoid all protests, political events, rallies and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Burundi. The terrorist group Al-Shabaab has made public threats to conduct attacks in Burundi, specifically in Bujumbura. 

New Zealanders in Burundi are advised to be vigilant in public places and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.

Violent Crime
Violent crime, including armed robbery, mugging and carjacking is common throughout Burundi and the risk increases significantly after dark. 

Travel outside Bujumbura and other major towns presents significant risks, especially after dark. Armed bandits are known to operate outside of Bujumbura, and travellers should be especially careful in remote areas such as national parks. There is also a risk of kidnapping in Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces.

New Zealanders in Burundi should seek local advice if travelling outside Bujumbura. 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 alone or at night. We strongly advise against using public transport.

Border regions
Armed groups operate in Burundi and sporadic conflict and low-level violence between rebel and government forces occurs, particularly in Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces. 

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 a comprehensive  travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should check your policy covers travel to Burundi, as exclusions are likely to apply.

New Zealanders who remain in Burundi against our advice are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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