Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Recent Prison Breaks and Impersonation of Local Security Forces

The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa informs U.S. citizens living or traveling in the DRC of recent large-scale prison breaks from prisons in Kinshasa, Beni, and Kasangulu. Local authorities will likely increase requests for government issued identification at checkpoints over the coming weeks as they work to track the large number of escapees.  The checkpoints have been reported during hours of darkness in Gombe, Limete, Ngaba, Kintambo, Ngaliema, Ndjili, Mont Ngafula, and around Camp Kokolo.

The U.S. Embassy has also received multiple reports of individuals impersonating local security forces throughout Kinshasa. Generally, these individuals pull up next to pedestrians in unmarked cars, claim to be off duty police officers searching for escaped prisoners, and request to see identification. These individuals do not wear uniforms and do not present any police credentials to identify themselves. Once they have taken possession of the victim’s identification, they demand the victim get into the vehicle where they’re then robbed and dropped in another part of town.

Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, and monitor local news stations for updates.  Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.  U.S. citizens should review the Travel Warning for the DRC and remain alert for potentially dangerous situations.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for the DRC.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, located at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, at +243-081-225-5872 (Do not dial the zero when calling from abroad); the Consular Section at tel. +243-081-884-6859 or +243-081-884-4609 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is 081-556-0151.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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