SAFETY AND SECURITY: Cote d’Ivoire
has experienced an extended period of instability since a military coup d'état in 1999. In September 2002, a large-scale military rebellion divided the country. Rebel groups control the north of the country above an east-west line running just south of Bouake, the country’s second largest city. Western rebel groups control the cities of Man and Danane and a strip of territory running along the border with Liberia. There are armed forces and volunteer barricades at many points on the highways through both the government-controlled and rebel-controlled portions of the country; they check documents and frequently demand cash for permission to pass. Cote d’Ivoire’s borders with Liberia, Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso are currently closed. Only the border with Ghana remains open.
Political instability has led to economic decline and high unemployment, exacerbating social tensions and creating the potential for labor unrest and civil disorder. The entire country has been under a curfew order since the outbreak of the 2002 crisis, and the curfew is strictly enforced by the security services. Violators may be subject to deadly force. Americans should avoid crowds and demonstrations, be aware of their surroundings, and use common sense to avoid situations and locations that could be inherently dangerous. Diplomatic efforts to end the crisis are ongoing
. However, further coup attempts or resumption of hostilities cannot be ruled out.