Be alert to the risk of street crime and armed robbery at all times. Both Foreigners and Congolese Citizens are at particular risk of street robbery in Kinshasa, especially near central Market called Zando, and supermarkets in the centre of town. Robberies by gangs of street children and Kuluna are increasingly common and can be aggressive. Car jackings are rare but not unheard of. There have been reports of an increase in criminal activity in North and South Kivu specifically targeting the international community. There have been many reports of robberies and banditry in Goma after dark.

Don’t walk in the streets alone at any time, especially at night. Avoid displaying valuables and cash. Keep copies of documents, including your passport separately.

Some gangs use girls to lure people into traps; others promise cut-price gold and diamonds, or pose as police or security forces.

If you’re in Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, Tanganyika or within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan against FCO advice you should be vigilant at all times and keep your security situation under constant review. Attacks on the civilian population of Beni territory have led to several hundred deaths since 2014.

During fighting in the region in 2012 and 2013, shells landed on Goma causing civilian deaths and injuries. There was also shelling around the border with Rwanda in late 2012 and explosions in the town of Gisenyi on the Rwandan side of the border. As well as civil unrest sometimes leading to anger at the international community, a risk of criminal acts remains, and attacks by armed men on NGO compounds have taken place.

There has been a series of kidnappings in North Kivu in the area around Goma in addition to military operations against armed groups. You should be especially vigilant, consider travelling in convoy on trips outside Goma and Bukavu and avoid making any journeys that would involve travel after dark.

The border crossings between Rwanda and the DRC at Gisenyi/Goma and Cyangugu/Bukavu are currently open between 06:00AM and 6:00PM. Both borders are liable to short notice closure and you should not rely on them as a point of exit from the DRC. If you are crossing regularly between Rwanda and the DRC you may encounter immigration difficulties if you have not regularized your residency status. There have been a number of security incidents in Lubumbashi and surrounding areas of Katanga, especially in Kasumbalesa.

The DRC’s borders with Burundi and Angola can also be subject to closure at short notice. The opportunities for gorilla trekking in the Virunga National Park in North Kivu are limited, and armed groups are sometimes active within the park. The Nyiragongo volcano in Virunga National Park is active and has only limited access to tourists. The north eastern district of Ituri, near the frontier with Uganda, remains subject to inter-factional conflict despite the presence of the UN and the Congolese army.

The Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group originating in northern Uganda, is currently operating in north eastern DRC. The Congolese army is carrying out operations against foreign and domestic armed groups operating in North and South Kivu provinces. Large numbers of civilians remain displaced as a result of the conflict. Acts of violence, including killing, rape and looting continue against the civilian population.

Insecurity in eastern DRC has allowed other armed groups in the area to operate more freely.

 Bienvenu Mat / Kinshasa Times