Security Alert – U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (20 December 2019)

Location: Kinshasa city roads, notably 30 June Boulevard, 24 November Boulevard, and Lumumba Boulevard.

Event: City-wide road construction and closures hinder movement and cause security concerns for vehicle drivers and passengers.  The Embassy has seen an increase in traffic accidents and security events involving crowds and hostile commuters harassing drivers and damaging cars.  Additionally, heavy traffic increases risk of crime such as theft of belongings from vehicles.

Construction and blockage of major thoroughfares is part of long-term projects expected to continue beyond 3 months.

Actions to Take:

  • Keep vehicle doors locked, windows up, and valuables out of sight. Remain in the vehicle when stuck in traffic.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and check that no one attempts to open passenger or backseat doors when stopped.
  • Keep a working cell phone with you.  Know your location in case you must report it to the police and carry proper identification.
  • If involved in an accident or harassment: stay in your vehicle, keep doors locked, and avoid an aggressive response.
  • Do not physically resist a robbery attempt.  If an aggressor tries to take a possession, such as a purse, give them what they demand.  Possessions are not as important as personal safety.
  • If you believe an aggressor is attempting to enter your vehicle to harm you, consider fleeing the vehicle.  Exit from the opposite side of the attack, or the most open path, and run to a store, restaurant, hotel, or place with security guards.  Leaving your vehicle should be a last resort.
  • Vary commute times to avoid peak traffic hours.
  • Have plans for child and pet care during long unexpected delays.