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Equatorial Guinea 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Africa > Equatorial Guinea; Africa > Equatorial Guinea > Malabo

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Malabo does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MALABO AS BEING A CRITICAL-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Please review OSAC’s Equatorial Guinea-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

Crime Threats

Criminals consider Malabo and Bata prime grounds for operations due to the number of people, businesses, and target of opportunity areas. Crime increases during the Christmas holiday season.

Congested urban areas can be dangerous at night, but daytime incidents are also possible. The presence of other pedestrians on the street should not be taken as an indication of security. Victims report being robbed in broad daylight in the presence of witnesses. Crime affects urban and rural areas due to limited police assets. In fact, the most common crime reported by the expatriate community is extortion by corrupt police officers.

Theft of unattended items (cash, cell phones) is the second most common crime reported by U.S. nationals.

Residential burglary is also commonly reported, especially among those who do not invest in a robust residential security posture. Among the local population, burglaries and home invasions occur frequently. Criminals have completely emptied a person’s home while they were away. Burglars have also entered residences while the occupants were home asleep.

  • In 2015, a Western ambassador took refuge in his residential safe haven as burglars broke through window grilles of his upscale, official residence. The thieves made off with the ambassador’s briefcase and electronics.

  • Criminals will resort to force if necessary. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.

    Violent crime directed toward expatriates/foreign tourists is unusual, but there are reports of expatriates who have been attacked violently.

    Other Areas of Concern

    Although piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is common, ships in Equatorial Guinea (EG)’s coastal waters have had fewer reported piracy incidents.

  • One locally-owned small cargo ship was hijacked in EG or Cameroonian waters in early 2014. The crewmembers were rescued by Nigerian Special Forces from a basecamp in the Niger Delta region.

  • Transportation-Safety Situation

  • Road Safety and Road Conditions

    All main thoroughfares and most secondary roads are paved and in good to excellent condition in Malabo.

    Traffic accidents are one of the greatest dangers in EG. Drivers are prone to excessive speeding and reckless behavior. A large percentage of drivers are unlicensed and may be drunk. Other road hazards include poor lighting, failure to obey traffic signals, livestock on roadways, slow moving vehicles, and large trucks delivering heavy cargo.

    Avoid driving at night outside Malabo in deserted areas or those with low population density. Rural and suburban areas are poorly illuminated and pose safety hazards due to pedestrians and animals crossing the roads. Large trucks may park anywhere without using emergency flashers or warning signs.

    Individuals should not roll down their window if someone approaches their vehicle. They should ignore persons outside their vehicle and drive away if they feel uncomfortable. While stopped in urban traffic, scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. One should only park in well-illuminated areas, preferably with a security guard nearby.

    Drivers are advised against stopping if they encounter rocks/logs in the road. This is a technique used by robbers in EG to force vehicles to stop. Drive around the barriers or turn around. Do not stop to assess the situation.

    Police and soldiers sometimes ask private vehicles to give them a ride. Refuse politely.

    Public Transportation Conditions

    Taxi drivers have a reputation for being drunk while working. There have been reports in Malabo and Bata of expatriates taking taxis and being driven to unfamiliar places against their will and robbed. It is strongly advised to avoid the use of taxicabs. If it is absolutely necessary to take a taxicab, do so in groups of two or more individuals; do not allow unknown passengers to enter the vehicle.

    Arrange for a private driver for transportation needs.

    Aviation/Airport Conditions

    Malabo International Airport receives all international flights. Outbound passenger screening should be considered non-existent by U.S. standards, as anyone may proceed to the airside waiting room without undergoing security screening. Some airlines have instituted hand/visual screening at the boarding jetway that is of minimal deterrence value and should not be considered passenger security screening equal to International Civil Aviation Authority, U.S., or European standards.

    Terrorism Threat

    THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MALABO AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

    Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

    EG does not have a history of terrorism. Since 2015, however, security forces have grown increasingly concerned over the potential for terrorism due to the increase in violence in the region, particularly in Cameroon.

    Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

    THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED MALABO AS BEING A MEDIUM-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

    EG’s septuagenarian president is Africa’s longest-serving head of state. The country lacks democratic experience and institutional capacity to guarantee an orderly change of leadership.

    Civil Unrest

    Civil unrest is uncommon. Demonstrations are not allowed and are rare. Any that do form is likely an illegal demonstration that the police will disperse.

  • In March 2015, several rock-throwing university students were arrested after an illegal protest over not receiving their scholarship funds. Security forces used tear gas to disperse the more than 200 student protestors.
  • In early 2015, a large body of taxi drivers protested proposed toll hikes. The government met the taxi drivers’ demand and substantially reduced the toll hike that taxis would pay under the new law.


Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

During the summer, torrential downpours can cause severe damage to villages and bridges. The lack of infrastructure could complicate any rescue or response operation.

Critical Infrastructure

Larger, foreign companies have the capability to supply their compounds’ power needs from generators and water needs from onsite wells. Some reliance on fuel for both transportation and electricity is a potential vulnerability for compounds that do not produce their own.

Economic Concerns

There is a small black market in Malabo that sells counterfeit and stolen goods. In downtown areas frequented by expatriates, street hawkers will approach potential customers trying to sell questionable electronics. Do not accept or handle this merchandise.

Privacy Concerns

Visitors should have no expectation of privacy in hotel rooms or publicly accessible areas. Hotel rooms should be considered to be monitored or subject to being monitored and/or searched by local police/security entities.

Personal Identity Concerns

EG is a conservative country; public displays of affection are not normally practiced.

Drug-related Crimes

Drugs (especially marijuana) are present. Care should be taken to avoid being involved in any form of narcotics activity. There have been no reports of narco-violence in Malabo since at least 2009.

Kidnapping Threat

There have been occasional kidnappings-for-ransom, but it is not known to be prevalent. Chinese expatriates have been targeted in Malabo due to the perception that Chinese carry large sums of cash.

Police Response

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Police will stop foreigners in traffic to levy an on-the-spot fine, while threatening to impoundment the vehicle if they do not. Usually, the officer will explain that the driver failed to stop before the appropriate line marker or the tires may be too far away from the crosswalk, etc. This corruption tends to be the most prevalent crime that expatriates face. There were no reports of violence by police during the extortion events.

If a U.S. citizen is harassed or detained by the police or other security personnel, s/he should immediately call U.S. Embassy Malabo. The Embassy’s main telephone number is +(240) 333-095-741. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +(240) 555-516-008.

Crime Victim Assistance

In the event of an emergency, the local police are typically the first point of contact. However, police response is sometimes slow, and investigations are often never opened. Prosecutions are slow if they are initiated. GREG National Security emergency services can be reached 24 hours a day at 666 555 532.

U.S. citizens are advised to call the ACS unit at the U.S. Embassy. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +(240) 555-516-008.

Medical Emergencies

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

Malabo

La Paz Medical Center

Banades 3C Al S

Sipopo, Bioko Norte

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Mobile : +(240) 556 666 156

Mobile: + (240) 556 666 154 ……………………Ambulance Services

 

Bata/Mainland

La Paz Medical Center-Bata

Bata, Equatorial Guinea (no address)

HR .director. (Doctor Ilario.)

Mobile + (240) 222 209 005

Emergency Phone + (240) 666 177 252 …………Ambulance Services

 

Other local clinics in that are available:

Virgin Guadalupe Clinic (Clinica Virgen de Guadalupe)

Calle Rey Malabo, 5th block

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Phone: +(240) 333 099 013

Mobile: +(240) 333 094 948 …………………… Ambulance Services

 

Clinica Santa Isabel

CLINICA SANTA ISABEL II

Avenida Hassan II, near the Hotel Tropicana

Parques de Africa, Caracolas

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

Phone: +(240) 333 092 666

Mobile: +(240) 555 240 148 -………………………Ambulance Services

 

U.S. Embassy Malabo also offers a list of doctors on the website.

Available Air Ambulance Services

International SOS

Mobile: +(240) 222 217 327

24 hour Assistance Center

Tel: +(27) (0) 11 541 1300

 

Air Rescue Africa

+(27) (11) 541 1100

Insurance Guidance

Health insurance is strongly advised. Insurance for medical evacuation coverage is also strongly advised. Visitors should double check with their insurance carrier prior to travel.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Equatorial Guinea.

OSAC Country Council Information

The OSAC Country Council is co-chaired by the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Officer (RSO) and a private sector partner. The Country Council meets on the last Friday of each month at 1600. Approximately 20-40 members attend these monthly meetings. Please contact OSAC’s Africa team if you would like to be put in touch with the RSO.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

Embassy of the United States in Equatorial Guinea, New Airport Road, Malabo Dos

Business Hours: Mon-Thurs: 0800-1730, Fri: 0800-1200. The Embassy is closed on American and Equatoguinean holidays.

Embassy Contact Numbers

Embassy Operator: +(240) 333-095-741

After-Hours Emergency Line: +(240) 555-516-008

Embassy Duty: Cell: +(240) 555-516-008

Post 1: +(240) 333-095-741 ext 4396

Post 2: (after hours) +(240) 333-095-741 ext 4170

Regional Security Officer: Phone: +(240) 333-095-741 ext 4377 and Cell: +(240) 555-000-309

Consular Officer: Phone: +(240) 333-095-741 ext 4375 and Cell: +(240) 555-000-307

Website: http://malabo.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Guidance

U.S. citizens traveling in Equatorial Guinea are encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service that helps the U.S. Embassy disseminate information about safety conditions and contact travelers in an emergency.

Additional Resources

Equatorial Guinea Country Information Sheet