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Published On: Sat, Dec 15th, 2018

US State Department: Crime, civil unrest and armed conflict prompts warning for DR Congo

The US Department of State made two moves on Friday due to dangers in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Image/State department twitter page

First, State Dept. officials advise against travel Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.

Parts of eastern DRC and the provinces of Kasai Oriental, Kasai Central, and Kasai Occidental are unstable due to armed group activity and military operations.  Major outbreaks of violence include the targeting of civilians in these areas.

There is also the issue of crime and civil unrest.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, armed home invasion, sexual assault, and physical assault, is common.  Assailants may pose as police or security agents.  Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

Many cities throughout the country experience demonstrations, some of which have been violent.  The government has responded with heavy-handed tactics that have resulted in civilian casualties and arrests.

Secondly, the US State Dept. ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Kinshasa due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions, notably in eastern DRC and Kasais.

In addition to the State Dept. warnings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued a travel advisory over the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the North Kivu (Kivu Nord) and Ituri provinces in the the northeastern part of the country.

The latest DRC Ministry of Health update Friday shows the cumulative number of cases is 521–(473 confirmed and 48 probable) since the outbreak began in August. In total, there were 306 deaths (258 confirmed and 48 probable).

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