The US Department of State warns its citizens of the risks of traveling to the Central African Republic (CAR), and recommends AGAINST all but essential travel outside the capital of Bangui. This replaces the Travel Warning of January 4, 2012, to reflect a change in contact information.
Armed militia groups, bandits, and poachers present real dangers, and the CAR government is unable to guarantee the safety of visitors in most parts of the country. There have been repeated attacks on travelers in the countryside. Attacks in recent months have occurred as close as 70 kilometers to Bangui. Poachers and gunmen also pose a threat to game hunters in northern and eastern CAR. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) poses a similar threat to hunters in eastern CAR.
Bangui suffers from elevated crime rates for both petty and violent crime, as well as particularly limited transport and medical options. CAR military and civilian security forces (and people posing as such) staff checkpoints throughout the city, frequently harassing residents and international visitors for bribes. Spontaneous demonstrations take place in CAR from time to time in response to world events or local developments. Peaceful demonstrations can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Hence, all demonstrations should be avoided.
In some cases, US citizens have been arrested and detained without due process and housed in harsh prison conditions. The CAR government has at times denied consular access to US citizen prisoners and moved them to other facilities without informing the US Embassy.
The US Embassy staff in Bangui can provide only limited services to US citizens at this time. Following the evacuation of all American staff in 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui resumed operations in January 2005 with very limited staffing.