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US issues DRC travel advisory

By David Lumu

Added 30th March 2017 12:00 PM

The travel advisory comes two weeks after the killing of two United Nations (UN) experts in DRC

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The travel advisory comes two weeks after the killing of two United Nations (UN) experts in DRC

The US Department of State has issued guidelines restricting American citizens from unnecessary travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The Department of State warns US citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to the DRC,” the statement noted, describing DRC as a country with “poor infrastructure” and uncertain “security conditions”, especially the eastern province.

According to the statement, which was issued yesterday, the complex insecurity dilemma in the DRC has made it difficult for the US embassy in the country to operate beyond Kinshasa, the capital city of DRC.

“Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces operate in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri, Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, and the Kasai region. These groups have been known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians may be indiscriminately targeted,” US officials said in the statement. 

The travel advisory comes two weeks after the killing of two United Nations (UN) experts in DRC.

On March 13, Michael Sharp, a citizen of United States and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish citizen, were kidnapped along with their local interpreter. 

The UN Security Council has since condemned the killing of two UN experts, urging the DRC government to fully investigate the crime.

According to a statement issued by Maman Sidikou, the UN special representative to DRC, the UN will provide support to the DRC government to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.

“The United Nations stands ready to provide the support necessary to ensure that justice is done and trusts that the authorities of the DRC will conduct a thorough investigation into their death. The perpetrators of this terrible crime need to be brought to justice,” he said.

Sidikou added: “Our thoughts also go out to the families & friends of the Congolese nationals who are still missing.”

The UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO) has heavy military presence in north and south Kivu, which jointly operates alaong with the DRC forces along the border points of Central African Republic and South Sudan, two countries that are also equally faced with insecurity dilemmas.

“Travelers in the region may encounter troop movements, armored vehicles and attack helicopters. Kidnapping for ransom is also common, particularly in areas north and west of Goma, North Kivu,” US officials have warned. 

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