"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

1.08.2008

people keep asking if I'm going back

Oooh, it's travel warning time! A couple of times a year, one of these arrives from the American embassy in Kinshasa. Today's is as awesome as usual:

"Armed groups and active duty and demobilized Congolese troops in parts of the country, including Eastern Congo , are known to pillage, carjack, and steal vehicles, kill extra-judicially, rape, kidnap, and carry out military or paramilitary operations. Large numbers of former rebel and government soldiers to be demobilized, as a result of the earlier peace process, remain a security concern. Travelers are frequently detained and questioned by poorly disciplined security forces at numerous roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country.

"Travelers to the DRC frequently experience difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry, such as temporary detention, passport confiscation and demands by immigration and security personnel for unofficial “special fees.” ...Border closures of 24-48 hours duration can occur without much advance notice.

"...Public Health concerns also pose a hazard to U.S. citizen travelers for outbreaks of deadly viruses and other diseases which can occur without warning and many times are not rapidly reported by local health authorities. During the months of August-October, lab confirmed cases of Ebola were found in the Luebo area of Kasai Occidental Province . ...Official notification of the end of the Ebola epidemic (42 days after the last identified case) was announced in mid November 2007."


I can check off having experienced detention and questioning at border crossings and demands for "special fees" at the airport. Good times. Maybe I should've studied local politics in Tuscany...

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