Burundi 2019 Crime & Safety Report

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report's publication assesses Burundi at Level 3, indicating travelers should reconsider travel to the country due to crime and armed conflict.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

There are ongoing political tensions in Burundi, and there has been sporadic violence throughout the country, including gunfire and regular grenade attacks; attribution and motivation behind these attacks is often unclear. Police and military checkpoints are common and can restrict freedom of movement. Police have searched the homes of private citizens as part of larger weapons searches.

Review OSAC's Burundi-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

Crime Threats

There is considerable risk from crime in Bujumbura. Overall, Westerners are unlikely to be specific targets of attack, although wrong time, wrong place scenarios still exist. Travelers are much more likely to be injured in a traffic accident than by an incident of crime.

Violent crimes, such as grenade attacks and armed robberies, are common. Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious and routine crimes.

Cybersecurity Issues

There is an overall lack of sophisticated technological and counterfeiting skills. The police have almost no capability to investigate these types of crimes when they do occur.

Other Areas of Concern

The provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza are vulnerable to cross-border raids by armed groups from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where violent clashes continue. The borders may close without notice.

It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and key infrastructure such as airports and border controls. Authorities could detain, arrest, or fine you, and confiscate your equipment. Do not take photos of Burundians without their permission. For more information, see OSAC's report, Picture This: Dos and Don'ts for Photography.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council