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Kinshasa



Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. Kinshasa is a high-threat post with many restrictions (windows up and doors locked at all times, walking restrictions, lots of barbed wire and guards at every house/compound, armed Congolese army personnel manning security checkpoints after dark, etc. Car accidents can get a little intense so there is protocol to follow there. There are days of political unrest/protests where shelter in place is required. There is likely to be continued unrest/instability in the coming months/years so better to be OK with following security regs. - Dec 21, 2017
Yes, local transportation and walking are not encouraged. - Dec 4, 2017
Yes. Doors and windows on your vehicle must remain closed and locked at all times. People will try to open your doors (yes, even while driving) to steal what they can grab. If your car automatically unlocks all doors upon placing it in Park, I strongly recommend you have this feature disabled prior to shipping your vehicle to post or learn how to do it on YouTube. - Mar 2, 2017
Petty theft is common and it is not safe to walk outside except in one or two areas. You will get used to living in your car and parking right in front of the place you want to go. Harassment by beggars and street children is common and can turn dangerous if you are alone and accosted by a large group. However, it is safe to go to nearly all restaurants, supermarkets, sporting events, etc.--you just have to drive there. - Jan 21, 2017
Though petty crime exists, I never worried about car jacking, home break ins, or your run-of-the mill urban opportunistic crimes. Street kids were pretty rampant -- one snatched my chain -- but rarely violent. The worry in Kin was always that the tenuous political situation would boil over and create unrest. While I was there we had two fuzzy 'coup' attempts. Never really fully explained, and just bizarre. Guys armed with spears trying to attack the Presidency; an errant pastor preaching secession. At least those were the formal explanations. One never knew. Elections are always dangerous. - Sep 26, 2016
This is considered a high threat post and there is a lot of poverty here, so we do not drive with our doors unlocked or our windows down - ever - to avoid the theft of purses, phones etc... That said, it is most petty theft that is worrying here. We have 24h guards in front of our home/compound, and the security officers at post keep the community apprised of what is going on in the city. This year (2016) is supposed to be a presidential election year here and people are on higher alert because of the political tensions, but we have never seen any focus on Americans and we have never worried about any kind of attack on Americans (or most expats) - if the security situation escalated here it would be because of internal issues that might tangentially affect the expat community, not because the expat community was targeted. - Apr 26, 2016
Kinshasa is a high-crime urban city with high populations of street kids and urban gangs looking for easy crimes of opportunity. Unlocked car doors will be opened (while driving) and bags or anything else reachable grabbed. Very few areas of the city are safe to walk at night although some of the more frequented expat areas are relatively safe if with a group and it's not too late. Beggars are common but not aggressive. - Jan 6, 2014
Embassy houses are very safe, with 24-hour guard. About town, you need to keep your car doors locked at all times and your wits about you. The biggest issue is theft and harassment from street kids while you're stuck in traffic. People generally limit how much they walk on the street and drive everywhere. Runners generally stick to the river loop, which is very safe, or run in pairs, although there is a hash that goes all over. I'd say it's getting slightly safer. - Nov 24, 2012
Yes, crime is very bad. - May 21, 2012
YES. Election time can bring extreme instability. There are "shegue" or street kids that can cause issues (ie. attempting to get into your car, stealing from your car, laying down in front of your car). When at the markets, you have to be cautious about closing your doors and locking them. - Feb 13, 2012
Yes shaygays (gangs of kids) cause numerous problems. - Nov 13, 2011
Not in the day to day life. It's actually pretty safe. Having said that the DRC remains a fragile state with lots of poverty, inequality and discontent, which can be explosive. With the forthcoming elections there is a chance that things will detonate, but I would still tend to think that stability will prevail - Aug 4, 2011
Quite a bit! You are on constant watch for pick-pockets, thieves, break-ins, smash and grab from vehicle. You lock all your doors in residence, (what break-ins we have heard about, have been ‘inside’ jobs, maid has given a key to a contract guard or guard used issued key to enter, help will pocket stuff), you pay attention to RSO briefing and their safety/security suggestions, you carry the radio and cell phone with you all the time, you let people know where you are going and then go in a crowd. Very important, you should know where you are all the time and how to tell someone to get to where you are. There are few street signs or markers. There are areas in Kinshasa where you just don’t belong and are inviting trouble by being there. There is growing gang problem, older kids/young adults who prey on the locals more so than the ex-pats. But, there has been at least one kidnapping and robbery of a Mission employee. The best available street map has several errors. When driving-doors locked, windows up, and you are aware of your surroundings. All residences are behind security walls, barbed wire, 24/7 on site security guards(contract), alarm buttons, entry alarm systems, and safe rooms. We rarely go out at night and when we do, it is to someplace we are very familiar with and usually with a group. Women driving alone will draw the attention of very aggressive street beggars or vendors, more so than a man does. Women out and about will draw attention. - Jan 19, 2011
Various scams are aimed at parting you from your money, but I worry far more about crime when I'm in the states than I do here. The shegue (street kids) can be an annoyance and can engage in petty theft, but by and large the threat they pose is easily managed. - Oct 16, 2010
We have 24-hour guards, so I haven't heard of any break-ins. The "sheguys" (teenage & young adult males) sometimes swarm cars, to try to intimidate the occupants into giving them money. - Jan 21, 2009