Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Bujumbura (Burundi), Guide to Handling Vehicle and Home Searches

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Burundi that at this time of year, Burundi security forces routinely increase the number of vehicle and home searches they conduct. The U.S. Embassy makes the following recommendations for handling these events safely and calmly.

Checkpoints:

Slow down when approaching checkpoints. Turn on your interior vehicle light at night.

Stop your vehicle at the checkpoint directed to do so by an officer/soldier. Comply with the officers' requests and remain courteous and calm.

Tell the officer you are a U.S. citizen and display color photocopies of your passport and other identity documents through the window. If possible, do not hand over originals; ask the police if they will accept the copies.

Ask for permission to pull aside if the police officer or soldier insists on searching the vehicle.

Only leave the checkpoint once instructed to do so by the officer.

If you are arrested, request that authorities notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.

Report any harassment to the U.S. Embassy.

Home Searches:

Inspect the officers' identification before they enter your house and write down their names.

Only officers of the Public Prosecutors Office of the Judicial Police are legally authorized to conduct searches.

Inform them you will be contacting the U.S. Embassy to report the search.

Ask to see the warrant. If they do not have one, ask them to get a copy and return.

Searches are conducted from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Accompany the officer(s) to each room to monitor the search. Stay calm, be polite, and comply with the police.

A copy of the official report listing the seized items should be presented to you.

Report the incident to the U.S. Embassy.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council