Central African Republic

This item appears on page 19 of the May 2008 issue.

Travelers in the Central African Republic (CAR) should exercise extreme caution, especially outside the capital city of Bangui. Armed rebel groups, bandits and poachers present real dangers.

The U.S. Department of State advises avoiding travel to northwestern and northern CAR, particularly the areas bordering Chad, due to insecurity caused by banditry and clashes between government and rebel forces.

In addition, the embassy recommends that Americans traveling outside the capital not travel with any armed escort, as an armed escort may cause problems with local authorities or draw fire from rebel troops.

Local citizens continue to be kidnapped and held for ransom on a regular basis.

Central African security forces (and people posing as such) at those checkpoints frequently harass local and expatriate travelers for bribes or small amounts of money (described as “coffee” in French).