The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of travel to Djibouti. US citizens in Djibouti should evaluate their personal security situation in light of specific threats from terrorism.
The US Government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at Western (including US) and Djiboutian interests in Djibouti. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings (to include car-bombings), kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Djiboutian ports.
Attacks may target official government facilities, including embassies and military installations, as well as soft targets such as restaurants, clubs, and commercial entities.
While Djiboutian officials continue the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.
On May 24, 2014, two suicide bombers attacked a restaurant popular with Westerners in Djibouti’s city center. One victim was killed and others were severely injured. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for this attack and renewed its previously stated intent to conduct similar attacks in Djibouti against both Djiboutian and Western targets. These threats have been regularly repeated since 2011, following Djibouti’s commitment to contribute forces to the African Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM).
The US Embassy presently has travel restrictions in place for its employees. The area around Menelik Square is off-limits to Embassy personnel until further notice. Embassy personnel are also advised to avoid large gatherings at restaurants and other public places. While these restrictions do not apply to non-US government personnel, we encourage US citizens to take similar precautions.
Citizens should stay abreast of local developments by following local press, radio, and television reports prior to undertaking travel. Visitors should also consult their hosts, including US and Djibouti business contacts, and hotels. We also encourage US citizens to carefully evaluate the security of places they visit in Djibouti, particularly public places such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs/bars, and restaurants.
US citizens already in Djibouti should be extremely vigilant about their personal security, particularly in crowded public places such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs/bars, restaurants, bus stations, and places of worship.
US citizens should remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events. Adopt the following good practices: avoid crowded transportation venues; visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas, preferably during daylight hours; lock all lodging doors and windows; carry minimal amounts of cash and credit cards; do not wear jewelry which attracts attention; know emergency phone numbers; do not resist or antagonize armed criminals; and always be aware of your surroundings.
US citizens who travel to or reside in Djibouti despite this Travel Warning are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information.
By enrolling in STEP, US citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. US citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the US Embassy in Djibouti. US citizens are also advised to monitor the US Embassy in Djibouti website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, and local and international news outlets.
The US Embassy in Djibouti is located at Lotissement Haramous Lot # 350B, tel. +(253) 21-45-30-00. You can contact the Consular Section of the Embassy via email at ConsularDjibouti@State.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call +(253) 77-87-72-29 or 21-45-30-00.
US citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Djibouti, as well as the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, which are all available on the US Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs website.