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Travel Alert: Guinea-Bissau

Africa > Guinea-Bissau > Bissau

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to, or living in, Guinea-Bissau to the continuing possibility of sporadic unrest following reports of fighting and violence in Bissau, as a result of an attempted coup d’état.  Embassy Dakar has received reports of explosions and heavy weapons fire in Guinea-Bissau’s capital city.  Radio and television are reportedly off the air, and military forces are attempting to restrict movement.  The airport was closed on April 13, and its future operating status is not known.  The airport's operating status may well fluctuate repeatedly during the course of this crisis.  The threat of continued violence and an increased potential for political instability and civil or military unrest in Guinea-Bissau remains high.  U.S. citizens are urged to shelter in place and avoid the downtown area of Bissau.  U.S. citizens should also remain alert to local security developments, and be vigilant regarding personal security.  This Travel Alert expires on July 12, 2012. 

U.S. citizens are encouraged to stay informed and to practice good situational awareness when moving about in Guinea-Bissau.  You should carefully consider the current security situation before making plans to travel in Bissau.  We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly, and with no advance warning, turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid crowds, political gatherings, and street demonstrations, even if they appear to be peaceful, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or apparent fighting.  U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

There is currently no permanent U.S. diplomatic or consular presence in Guinea-Bissau.  The U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal is accredited for all diplomatic and security concerns.  The U.S. Liaison Office in Bissau (BLO) can provide limited services to U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency.  However, all security and consular services should be coordinated through the American Citizens Services Section and the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.  The U.S. Liaison Office is located at: Edifício SITEC, Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda (Telephone: 245-325-6382).  The U.S. Embassy in Dakar is located on at Avenue Jean XXIII, Dakar; the mailing address is B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal.  If you have questions or concerns about safety or related issues, you are encouraged to contact the consular section at the Embassy by sending an email message to consulardakar@state.gov .  The Embassy telephone number is (221) 33 829-2100. 

For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer at +221 33-829-2209.  If you are going to live in or travel to Senegal or Guinea-Bissau, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date.  When you are enrolling or updating information, it is important to include your current phone number and current email address so we can reach you in case of an emergency.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy Dakar website, the Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide CautionTravel WarningsTravel Alerts, andCountry Specific Information.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well, or you can download our free Smart TraveleriPhone App for travel information at your fingertips. 

Up to date security information can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).