Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 19 July 2016, 16:37 NZST
  • Still current at: 25 September 2017

Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security in South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict, civil unrest and violent crime and we advise against all travel. 

New Zealanders currently in South Sudan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. 

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Armed Conflict/Civil Unrest
Since December 2013, there has been ongoing armed conflict between government and opposition forces throughout South Sudan. Most recently, fighting in Juba broke out on 7 July 2016 and resulted in many fatalities. A ceasefire announced on 11 July 2016 has largely been holding, however the situation remains tense and there is the possibility for further violence.

New Zealanders in South Sudan are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety. You should have a contingency plan in place for departure, monitor developments closely through the media and other local information sources. As a precautionary measure, we recommend ensuring adequate supplies of food, water, fuel, cash and essential medications are always on hand and travel documents are kept up to date.

Inter-tribal clashes have occurred throughout the country, and have led to a significant loss of life. Heavy fighting continues to occur sporadically. Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, where the conflict and military operations are focused, are particularly dangerous however tensions are high throughout the country and the potential for violence exists elsewhere.

Areas within 40 kilometres of South Sudan’s northern border with Sudan are also particularly dangerous and vulnerable to armed incursions and violence.  Parts of the border remain disputed and military forces are deployed in these areas.

We recommend you avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

Violent Crime
Violent crime, including armed robbery and car-jacking, is a significant problem throughout South Sudan, both in urban and rural areas.  The government has limited capacity to deter crime and maintain law and order outside the capital city of Juba.  Banditry and lawlessness is an issue in rural areas. 

A number of armed militia groups are active in South Sudan’s border areas and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), currently based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic, has in the past been active in western regions of South Sudan. 

New Zealanders in South Sudan 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 or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence. For security reasons we recommend against travelling alone or to isolated areas. 

Landmines
There is a risk from landmines, which are reportedly present throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  We advise you not to stray off well-used public roads and paths. 

General Travel Advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in South Sudan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.   

New Zealanders travelling or living in South Sudan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.  You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to South Sudan – exclusions may well apply. Only very limited medical facilities are available in South Sudan.  

New Zealanders who decide to live or travel in South Sudan 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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