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Gabon 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report

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  • bobutne
    4/27/2011 Overall Crime and Safety Situation The Department of State has designated Gabon as a High Threat Crime Post. Crime increases dramatically during the
    Message 1 of 4 , May 25, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      4/27/2011 Overall Crime and Safety Situation
      The Department of State has designated Gabon as a High Threat Crime Post. Crime increases dramatically during the holiday season. Criminals consider Libreville, the capital city, and Port Gentil, prime grounds for operations due to the number of people, businesses, and affluent areas. Additionally, crime affects urban and rural areas due to limited police assets. Walking around at night, either alone or in a group, is strongly discouraged. Congested urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, but daytime incidents are also very common. The presence of other pedestrians on the street should not be taken as an indication of security; many victims report being robbed in broad daylight in the presence of witnesses. Mob justice exists in Gabon and sometimes suspects can find themselves pursued and beaten by by-standers.

      Theft of unaccompanied items is the most common crime reported by Americans in Gabon. Residential burglary is the second most commonly reported criminal act.

      Most residents in Gabon take residential security seriously and attempt to protect their homes accordingly. Perimeter walls, security guards, security lighting, window grills, and alarm systems with security response teams are essential for ensuring the safety of residents. Burglaries and home invasions are occurring more frequently than in the past. Gangs, armed with knives or firearms, target homes they suspect possess cash or valuables. Criminals have been known to enter residences while the occupants are at home asleep. During December 2010, Libreville experienced a substantial increase in residential break-ins, a trend that has continued into January 2011.

      Violent crime directed toward expatriates or foreign tourists in Gabon was unusual, but in recent months there has been a steady increase of reports where expatriates have been violently attacked. Criminals will resort to force if necessary in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.

      Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive items in open view. Do not display large amounts of cash, flashy jewelry, expensive clothing items, or cellular telephones. The items stolen most frequently during a robbery tend to be cash and cell phones. In order to mitigate the risk of being targeted, visitors should follow strict personal security measures. Examples include protecting personal property (i.e. bags, purses, laptops, cell phones), avoiding displays of large amounts of money, and not wearing expensive jewelry.

      Car-jackings are not common but occasionally occur.

      Most local hotels are not on par with western security standards. However, there are some hotels that have safeguards that match security standards found in western countries (for example, providing 24-hour guards, locking doors, and safes in each room). Typical residences have grilles on all windows and alarm systems installed to prevent burglaries. There are several local security services available. However, their level of training, professionalism, and salary vary, leading to questionable effectiveness.

      Traffic accidents are one of the greatest dangers in Gabon. Use extreme caution when on the road, as drivers are prone to excessive speeding and reckless behavior. Other road hazards include: poor lighting, failure to obey traffic signals, presence of pedestrians on roadways, livestock and other animals on roadways, slower moving vehicles on the road, large trucks delivering heavy cargo, drunk drivers, poorly maintained roads, and erratic stopping by various vehicles.

      There is a system of highways that lead to the major metropolitan areas. Libreville has two main roads within its boundaries; once travelers leave these major arteries, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required. The structural integrity of roads throughout Gabon is generally poor. The roads are inadequately maintained and become significantly more hazardous during the rainy season (September – May).

      Avoid driving at night in deserted or areas with low population density. Rural and suburban areas alike are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards due to pedestrians and animals crossing the roads. Vehicles are not well maintained and often lack headlights. Large trucks park on the road side without emergency flashers or warning signs.

      Keep automobile doors locked, seat belts fastened, and windows rolled up at all times. Do not roll down your window if someone approaches your vehicle. Ignore persons outside your vehicle and drive away if you feel uncomfortable. While stopped in urban traffic, continue to scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. Always use your seatbelt. Keep belongings out of plain view at all times. While idling at a light or stop sign, leave adequate maneuver room between your vehicle and the one in front so that you can expedite your departure should the need arise. Park only in well-lit areas, preferably in parking lots with a security guard.

      Do not stop your vehicle if you encounter rocks or logs in the middle of the road. This is a technique used in Africa for robbers to force vehicles to stop. Either drive around the barriers or turn around. Do not stop to assess the situation.

      In 2010, there were no acts of regional terrorism in Gabon and no known terrorist organizations. There are some local crime gangs. Organized crime is focused on the drug and ivory trade, as well as human trafficking, which is a major problem for Gabon.

      Civil unrest is not common in Gabon, although public protests, demonstrations and strikes are fairly common in response to ongoing labor and politically-related difficulties. Labor unions often strike to force management to concede to their demands. These rarely lead to violence, but some incidents have been reported as demonstrators gather for rallies.

      When a demonstration is pending, the police and gendarme are usually called out to monitor the group. Americans are cautioned to stay away from demonstrations in Gabon, as the police have used force and teargas to disrupt such events. During the course of such events, police do not distinguish between "innocent bystanders" and protesters, and the possibility of becoming a collateral casualty should be a concern for Americans.

      Environmental Hazards
      During the summer season, torrential downpours can cause severe damage to villages and bridges. There have been no major natural disasters in recent history. Since November 2009, Libreville has been experiencing unexpected rolling blackouts of electricity and water shortages. Old equipment and spotty maintenance has caused the aging utility infrastructure to fail.


      Industrial and Transportation Accidents
      The lack of infrastructure could complicate any rescue or response operation dealing with a transportation accident. The French army has a base located in Libreville and assets at Leon M'ba International Airport and may be able to assist in any major accident. There were no reported airline accidents in Gabon in 2010. The local ground transportation are minibuses that transport passengers around the city and from town to town. Every year, there are a number of serious and fatal accidents involving these taxis. Many of the minibuses lack proper safety equipment such as seat belts and headlights. The drivers are often reckless, making frequent unauthorized stops to pick up passengers and speeding from one stop to the next.


      Drug and Narcoterrorism
      Drugs, especially marijuana, are present in Gabon. Avoid being involved in any form of narcotics activity.


      Police Response
      Police interaction with tourists and expatriates is generally uneventful. However, road blocks and police checkpoints are frequently erected throughout the country. Always follow the instructions of security forces. In most cases, once the traveler's paperwork is checked, he is released. The police or military may ask for bribes in the form of "coca-cola money,"which should not be paid.

      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. It is much better to prevent a crime than try to prosecute it in Gabon. Prosecutions are very slow, if they are even initiated.


      How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
      If a U.S. citizen is harassed or detained by the police or other security personnel, he should immediately contact U.S. Embassy Libreville via telephone. The Embassy's main telephone number is +241-76-20-03. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +241-07-38-01-71.

      Medical Emergencies
      Medical facilities are not up to U.S. standards and vary according to location in Gabon. The French military has a hospital at their base that could support expatriates injured in remote areas of the country. Libreville has several functional hospitals.


      Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
      Simple personal security measures such as holding your valuables, not wearing expensive jewelry, or flashing money will decrease the likelihood of being targeted by criminals for petty crimes of opportunity. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to avoid unfamiliar areas with large crowds, such as beaches or popular streets, especially after dark.

      There are no scams unique to Gabon. However, an expatriate reported that his ATM cards were stolen and money was withdrawn from his accounts. The thief probably obtained the victim's PIN numbers by monitoring him near the ATM while the victim used it. Additionally, operations where criminals gain entry into vehicles and homes are common. Once in the vehicle or residence, the thief will steal objects close to their proximity. In one such case, a female victim was persuaded to give an unfamiliar woman a ride home from a grocery store. When the driver returned home she noticed her purse was missing.
    • Gary Marsh
      Bob, This another verification of how very lucky we were to have been in Gabon during the early 1960s. How unfortunate it is for a beautiful place with nice,
      Message 2 of 4 , May 26, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Bob,
        This another verification of how very lucky we were
        to have been in Gabon during the early 1960s.
        How unfortunate it is for a beautiful place with
        nice, generous people to have changed so much
        in the wrong direction.

        GM



        To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        From: bobutne@...
        Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 02:26:38 +0000
        Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report






        4/27/2011 Overall Crime and Safety Situation
        The Department of State has designated Gabon as a High Threat Crime Post. Crime increases dramatically during the holiday season. Criminals consider Libreville, the capital city, and Port Gentil, prime grounds for operations due to the number of people, businesses, and affluent areas. Additionally, crime affects urban and rural areas due to limited police assets. Walking around at night, either alone or in a group, is strongly discouraged. Congested urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, but daytime incidents are also very common. The presence of other pedestrians on the street should not be taken as an indication of security; many victims report being robbed in broad daylight in the presence of witnesses. Mob justice exists in Gabon and sometimes suspects can find themselves pursued and beaten by by-standers.

        Theft of unaccompanied items is the most common crime reported by Americans in Gabon. Residential burglary is the second most commonly reported criminal act.

        Most residents in Gabon take residential security seriously and attempt to protect their homes accordingly. Perimeter walls, security guards, security lighting, window grills, and alarm systems with security response teams are essential for ensuring the safety of residents. Burglaries and home invasions are occurring more frequently than in the past. Gangs, armed with knives or firearms, target homes they suspect possess cash or valuables. Criminals have been known to enter residences while the occupants are at home asleep. During December 2010, Libreville experienced a substantial increase in residential break-ins, a trend that has continued into January 2011.

        Violent crime directed toward expatriates or foreign tourists in Gabon was unusual, but in recent months there has been a steady increase of reports where expatriates have been violently attacked. Criminals will resort to force if necessary in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.

        Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive items in open view. Do not display large amounts of cash, flashy jewelry, expensive clothing items, or cellular telephones. The items stolen most frequently during a robbery tend to be cash and cell phones. In order to mitigate the risk of being targeted, visitors should follow strict personal security measures. Examples include protecting personal property (i.e. bags, purses, laptops, cell phones), avoiding displays of large amounts of money, and not wearing expensive jewelry.

        Car-jackings are not common but occasionally occur.

        Most local hotels are not on par with western security standards. However, there are some hotels that have safeguards that match security standards found in western countries (for example, providing 24-hour guards, locking doors, and safes in each room). Typical residences have grilles on all windows and alarm systems installed to prevent burglaries. There are several local security services available. However, their level of training, professionalism, and salary vary, leading to questionable effectiveness.

        Traffic accidents are one of the greatest dangers in Gabon. Use extreme caution when on the road, as drivers are prone to excessive speeding and reckless behavior. Other road hazards include: poor lighting, failure to obey traffic signals, presence of pedestrians on roadways, livestock and other animals on roadways, slower moving vehicles on the road, large trucks delivering heavy cargo, drunk drivers, poorly maintained roads, and erratic stopping by various vehicles.

        There is a system of highways that lead to the major metropolitan areas. Libreville has two main roads within its boundaries; once travelers leave these major arteries, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required. The structural integrity of roads throughout Gabon is generally poor. The roads are inadequately maintained and become significantly more hazardous during the rainy season (September � May).

        Avoid driving at night in deserted or areas with low population density. Rural and suburban areas alike are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards due to pedestrians and animals crossing the roads. Vehicles are not well maintained and often lack headlights. Large trucks park on the road side without emergency flashers or warning signs.

        Keep automobile doors locked, seat belts fastened, and windows rolled up at all times. Do not roll down your window if someone approaches your vehicle. Ignore persons outside your vehicle and drive away if you feel uncomfortable. While stopped in urban traffic, continue to scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. Always use your seatbelt. Keep belongings out of plain view at all times. While idling at a light or stop sign, leave adequate maneuver room between your vehicle and the one in front so that you can expedite your departure should the need arise. Park only in well-lit areas, preferably in parking lots with a security guard.

        Do not stop your vehicle if you encounter rocks or logs in the middle of the road. This is a technique used in Africa for robbers to force vehicles to stop. Either drive around the barriers or turn around. Do not stop to assess the situation.

        In 2010, there were no acts of regional terrorism in Gabon and no known terrorist organizations. There are some local crime gangs. Organized crime is focused on the drug and ivory trade, as well as human trafficking, which is a major problem for Gabon.

        Civil unrest is not common in Gabon, although public protests, demonstrations and strikes are fairly common in response to ongoing labor and politically-related difficulties. Labor unions often strike to force management to concede to their demands. These rarely lead to violence, but some incidents have been reported as demonstrators gather for rallies.

        When a demonstration is pending, the police and gendarme are usually called out to monitor the group. Americans are cautioned to stay away from demonstrations in Gabon, as the police have used force and teargas to disrupt such events. During the course of such events, police do not distinguish between "innocent bystanders" and protesters, and the possibility of becoming a collateral casualty should be a concern for Americans.

        Environmental Hazards
        During the summer season, torrential downpours can cause severe damage to villages and bridges. There have been no major natural disasters in recent history. Since November 2009, Libreville has been experiencing unexpected rolling blackouts of electricity and water shortages. Old equipment and spotty maintenance has caused the aging utility infrastructure to fail.

        Industrial and Transportation Accidents
        The lack of infrastructure could complicate any rescue or response operation dealing with a transportation accident. The French army has a base located in Libreville and assets at Leon M'ba International Airport and may be able to assist in any major accident. There were no reported airline accidents in Gabon in 2010. The local ground transportation are minibuses that transport passengers around the city and from town to town. Every year, there are a number of serious and fatal accidents involving these taxis. Many of the minibuses lack proper safety equipment such as seat belts and headlights. The drivers are often reckless, making frequent unauthorized stops to pick up passengers and speeding from one stop to the next.

        Drug and Narcoterrorism
        Drugs, especially marijuana, are present in Gabon. Avoid being involved in any form of narcotics activity.

        Police Response
        Police interaction with tourists and expatriates is generally uneventful. However, road blocks and police checkpoints are frequently erected throughout the country. Always follow the instructions of security forces. In most cases, once the traveler's paperwork is checked, he is released. The police or military may ask for bribes in the form of "coca-cola money,"which should not be paid.

        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. It is much better to prevent a crime than try to prosecute it in Gabon. Prosecutions are very slow, if they are even initiated.

        How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
        If a U.S. citizen is harassed or detained by the police or other security personnel, he should immediately contact U.S. Embassy Libreville via telephone. The Embassy's main telephone number is +241-76-20-03. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +241-07-38-01-71.

        Medical Emergencies
        Medical facilities are not up to U.S. standards and vary according to location in Gabon. The French military has a hospital at their base that could support expatriates injured in remote areas of the country. Libreville has several functional hospitals.

        Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
        Simple personal security measures such as holding your valuables, not wearing expensive jewelry, or flashing money will decrease the likelihood of being targeted by criminals for petty crimes of opportunity. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to avoid unfamiliar areas with large crowds, such as beaches or popular streets, especially after dark.

        There are no scams unique to Gabon. However, an expatriate reported that his ATM cards were stolen and money was withdrawn from his accounts. The thief probably obtained the victim's PIN numbers by monitoring him near the ATM while the victim used it. Additionally, operations where criminals gain entry into vehicles and homes are common. Once in the vehicle or residence, the thief will steal objects close to their proximity. In one such case, a female victim was persuaded to give an unfamiliar woman a ride home from a grocery store. When the driver returned home she noticed her purse was missing.





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • bobutne
        The world is rapidily changing. However, one can still travel safely to Gabon, including Libreville and Port Gentil, provided the traveler practices prudence
        Message 3 of 4 , May 26, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          The world is rapidily changing. However, one can still travel safely to Gabon, including Libreville and Port Gentil, provided the traveler practices prudence including keeping out of areas that have no police or other security controls. In the smaller towns and villages, there are relatively little security issues. The major problems in Libreville and Port Gentil appear to be largely caused by the large influx of non-Gabonese from surrounding countries. These intruders lack jobs as do many young Gabonese who want their piece of the pie.




          --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Gary Marsh <garymmarsh@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > Bob,
          > This another verification of how very lucky we were
          > to have been in Gabon during the early 1960s.
          > How unfortunate it is for a beautiful place with
          > nice, generous people to have changed so much
          > in the wrong direction.
          >
          > GM
          >
          >
          >
          > To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > From: bobutne@...
          > Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 02:26:38 +0000
          > Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > 4/27/2011 Overall Crime and Safety Situation
          > The Department of State has designated Gabon as a High Threat Crime Post. Crime increases dramatically during the holiday season. Criminals consider Libreville, the capital city, and Port Gentil, prime grounds for operations due to the number of people, businesses, and affluent areas. Additionally, crime affects urban and rural areas due to limited police assets. Walking around at night, either alone or in a group, is strongly discouraged. Congested urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, but daytime incidents are also very common. The presence of other pedestrians on the street should not be taken as an indication of security; many victims report being robbed in broad daylight in the presence of witnesses. Mob justice exists in Gabon and sometimes suspects can find themselves pursued and beaten by by-standers.
          >
          > Theft of unaccompanied items is the most common crime reported by Americans in Gabon. Residential burglary is the second most commonly reported criminal act.
          >
          > Most residents in Gabon take residential security seriously and attempt to protect their homes accordingly. Perimeter walls, security guards, security lighting, window grills, and alarm systems with security response teams are essential for ensuring the safety of residents. Burglaries and home invasions are occurring more frequently than in the past. Gangs, armed with knives or firearms, target homes they suspect possess cash or valuables. Criminals have been known to enter residences while the occupants are at home asleep. During December 2010, Libreville experienced a substantial increase in residential break-ins, a trend that has continued into January 2011.
          >
          > Violent crime directed toward expatriates or foreign tourists in Gabon was unusual, but in recent months there has been a steady increase of reports where expatriates have been violently attacked. Criminals will resort to force if necessary in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.
          >
          > Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive items in open view. Do not display large amounts of cash, flashy jewelry, expensive clothing items, or cellular telephones. The items stolen most frequently during a robbery tend to be cash and cell phones. In order to mitigate the risk of being targeted, visitors should follow strict personal security measures. Examples include protecting personal property (i.e. bags, purses, laptops, cell phones), avoiding displays of large amounts of money, and not wearing expensive jewelry.
          >
          > Car-jackings are not common but occasionally occur.
          >
          > Most local hotels are not on par with western security standards. However, there are some hotels that have safeguards that match security standards found in western countries (for example, providing 24-hour guards, locking doors, and safes in each room). Typical residences have grilles on all windows and alarm systems installed to prevent burglaries. There are several local security services available. However, their level of training, professionalism, and salary vary, leading to questionable effectiveness.
          >
          > Traffic accidents are one of the greatest dangers in Gabon. Use extreme caution when on the road, as drivers are prone to excessive speeding and reckless behavior. Other road hazards include: poor lighting, failure to obey traffic signals, presence of pedestrians on roadways, livestock and other animals on roadways, slower moving vehicles on the road, large trucks delivering heavy cargo, drunk drivers, poorly maintained roads, and erratic stopping by various vehicles.
          >
          > There is a system of highways that lead to the major metropolitan areas. Libreville has two main roads within its boundaries; once travelers leave these major arteries, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required. The structural integrity of roads throughout Gabon is generally poor. The roads are inadequately maintained and become significantly more hazardous during the rainy season (September – May).
          >
          > Avoid driving at night in deserted or areas with low population density. Rural and suburban areas alike are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards due to pedestrians and animals crossing the roads. Vehicles are not well maintained and often lack headlights. Large trucks park on the road side without emergency flashers or warning signs.
          >
          > Keep automobile doors locked, seat belts fastened, and windows rolled up at all times. Do not roll down your window if someone approaches your vehicle. Ignore persons outside your vehicle and drive away if you feel uncomfortable. While stopped in urban traffic, continue to scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. Always use your seatbelt. Keep belongings out of plain view at all times. While idling at a light or stop sign, leave adequate maneuver room between your vehicle and the one in front so that you can expedite your departure should the need arise. Park only in well-lit areas, preferably in parking lots with a security guard.
          >
          > Do not stop your vehicle if you encounter rocks or logs in the middle of the road. This is a technique used in Africa for robbers to force vehicles to stop. Either drive around the barriers or turn around. Do not stop to assess the situation.
          >
          > In 2010, there were no acts of regional terrorism in Gabon and no known terrorist organizations. There are some local crime gangs. Organized crime is focused on the drug and ivory trade, as well as human trafficking, which is a major problem for Gabon.
          >
          > Civil unrest is not common in Gabon, although public protests, demonstrations and strikes are fairly common in response to ongoing labor and politically-related difficulties. Labor unions often strike to force management to concede to their demands. These rarely lead to violence, but some incidents have been reported as demonstrators gather for rallies.
          >
          > When a demonstration is pending, the police and gendarme are usually called out to monitor the group. Americans are cautioned to stay away from demonstrations in Gabon, as the police have used force and teargas to disrupt such events. During the course of such events, police do not distinguish between "innocent bystanders" and protesters, and the possibility of becoming a collateral casualty should be a concern for Americans.
          >
          > Environmental Hazards
          > During the summer season, torrential downpours can cause severe damage to villages and bridges. There have been no major natural disasters in recent history. Since November 2009, Libreville has been experiencing unexpected rolling blackouts of electricity and water shortages. Old equipment and spotty maintenance has caused the aging utility infrastructure to fail.
          >
          > Industrial and Transportation Accidents
          > The lack of infrastructure could complicate any rescue or response operation dealing with a transportation accident. The French army has a base located in Libreville and assets at Leon M'ba International Airport and may be able to assist in any major accident. There were no reported airline accidents in Gabon in 2010. The local ground transportation are minibuses that transport passengers around the city and from town to town. Every year, there are a number of serious and fatal accidents involving these taxis. Many of the minibuses lack proper safety equipment such as seat belts and headlights. The drivers are often reckless, making frequent unauthorized stops to pick up passengers and speeding from one stop to the next.
          >
          > Drug and Narcoterrorism
          > Drugs, especially marijuana, are present in Gabon. Avoid being involved in any form of narcotics activity.
          >
          > Police Response
          > Police interaction with tourists and expatriates is generally uneventful. However, road blocks and police checkpoints are frequently erected throughout the country. Always follow the instructions of security forces. In most cases, once the traveler's paperwork is checked, he is released. The police or military may ask for bribes in the form of "coca-cola money,"which should not be paid.
          >
          > 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. It is much better to prevent a crime than try to prosecute it in Gabon. Prosecutions are very slow, if they are even initiated.
          >
          > How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
          > If a U.S. citizen is harassed or detained by the police or other security personnel, he should immediately contact U.S. Embassy Libreville via telephone. The Embassy's main telephone number is +241-76-20-03. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +241-07-38-01-71.
          >
          > Medical Emergencies
          > Medical facilities are not up to U.S. standards and vary according to location in Gabon. The French military has a hospital at their base that could support expatriates injured in remote areas of the country. Libreville has several functional hospitals.
          >
          > Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
          > Simple personal security measures such as holding your valuables, not wearing expensive jewelry, or flashing money will decrease the likelihood of being targeted by criminals for petty crimes of opportunity. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to avoid unfamiliar areas with large crowds, such as beaches or popular streets, especially after dark.
          >
          > There are no scams unique to Gabon. However, an expatriate reported that his ATM cards were stolen and money was withdrawn from his accounts. The thief probably obtained the victim's PIN numbers by monitoring him near the ATM while the victim used it. Additionally, operations where criminals gain entry into vehicles and homes are common. Once in the vehicle or residence, the thief will steal objects close to their proximity. In one such case, a female victim was persuaded to give an unfamiliar woman a ride home from a grocery store. When the driver returned home she noticed her purse was missing.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • dupont3@juno.com
          I thought that OSAC crime report was about Los Angeles. Any traveler coming to Los Angeles should take the same precautions. A fan was almost beaten to death
          Message 4 of 4 , May 28, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            I thought that OSAC crime report was about Los Angeles. Any traveler coming to Los Angeles should take the same precautions. A fan was almost beaten to death at a Dodger game here recently. ---------- Original Message ----------
            From: "bobutne" <bobutne@...>
            To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report
            Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 15:30:02 -0000

            The world is rapidily changing. However, one can still travel safely to Gabon, including Libreville and Port Gentil, provided the traveler practices prudence including keeping out of areas that have no police or other security controls. In the smaller towns and villages, there are relatively little security issues. The major problems in Libreville and Port Gentil appear to be largely caused by the large influx of non-Gabonese from surrounding countries. These intruders lack jobs as do many young Gabonese who want their piece of the pie.




            --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Gary Marsh <garymmarsh@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Bob,
            > This another verification of how very lucky we were
            > to have been in Gabon during the early 1960s.
            > How unfortunate it is for a beautiful place with
            > nice, generous people to have changed so much
            > in the wrong direction.
            >
            > GM
            >
            >
            >
            > To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > From: bobutne@...
            > Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 02:26:38 +0000
            > Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > 4/27/2011 Overall Crime and Safety Situation
            > The Department of State has designated Gabon as a High Threat Crime Post. Crime increases dramatically during the holiday season. Criminals consider Libreville, the capital city, and Port Gentil, prime grounds for operations due to the number of people, businesses, and affluent areas. Additionally, crime affects urban and rural areas due to limited police assets. Walking around at night, either alone or in a group, is strongly discouraged. Congested urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, but daytime incidents are also very common. The presence of other pedestrians on the street should not be taken as an indication of security; many victims report being robbed in broad daylight in the presence of witnesses. Mob justice exists in Gabon and sometimes suspects can find themselves pursued and beaten by by-standers.
            >
            > Theft of unaccompanied items is the most common crime reported by Americans in Gabon. Residential burglary is the second most commonly reported criminal act.
            >
            > Most residents in Gabon take residential security seriously and attempt to protect their homes accordingly. Perimeter walls, security guards, security lighting, window grills, and alarm systems with security response teams are essential for ensuring the safety of residents. Burglaries and home invasions are occurring more frequently than in the past. Gangs, armed with knives or firearms, target homes they suspect possess cash or valuables. Criminals have been known to enter residences while the occupants are at home asleep. During December 2010, Libreville experienced a substantial increase in residential break-ins, a trend that has continued into January 2011.
            >
            > Violent crime directed toward expatriates or foreign tourists in Gabon was unusual, but in recent months there has been a steady increase of reports where expatriates have been violently attacked. Criminals will resort to force if necessary in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims.
            >
            > Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive items in open view. Do not display large amounts of cash, flashy jewelry, expensive clothing items, or cellular telephones. The items stolen most frequently during a robbery tend to be cash and cell phones. In order to mitigate the risk of being targeted, visitors should follow strict personal security measures. Examples include protecting personal property (i.e. bags, purses, laptops, cell phones), avoiding displays of large amounts of money, and not wearing expensive jewelry.
            >
            > Car-jackings are not common but occasionally occur.
            >
            > Most local hotels are not on par with western security standards. However, there are some hotels that have safeguards that match security standards found in western countries (for example, providing 24-hour guards, locking doors, and safes in each room). Typical residences have grilles on all windows and alarm systems installed to prevent burglaries. There are several local security services available. However, their level of training, professionalism, and salary vary, leading to questionable effectiveness.
            >
            > Traffic accidents are one of the greatest dangers in Gabon. Use extreme caution when on the road, as drivers are prone to excessive speeding and reckless behavior. Other road hazards include: poor lighting, failure to obey traffic signals, presence of pedestrians on roadways, livestock and other animals on roadways, slower moving vehicles on the road, large trucks delivering heavy cargo, drunk drivers, poorly maintained roads, and erratic stopping by various vehicles.
            >
            > There is a system of highways that lead to the major metropolitan areas. Libreville has two main roads within its boundaries; once travelers leave these major arteries, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required. The structural integrity of roads throughout Gabon is generally poor. The roads are inadequately maintained and become significantly more hazardous during the rainy season (September � May).
            >
            > Avoid driving at night in deserted or areas with low population density. Rural and suburban areas alike are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards due to pedestrians and animals crossing the roads. Vehicles are not well maintained and often lack headlights. Large trucks park on the road side without emergency flashers or warning signs.
            >
            > Keep automobile doors locked, seat belts fastened, and windows rolled up at all times. Do not roll down your window if someone approaches your vehicle. Ignore persons outside your vehicle and drive away if you feel uncomfortable. While stopped in urban traffic, continue to scan rearview mirrors to identify potential trouble. Always use your seatbelt. Keep belongings out of plain view at all times. While idling at a light or stop sign, leave adequate maneuver room between your vehicle and the one in front so that you can expedite your departure should the need arise. Park only in well-lit areas, preferably in parking lots with a security guard.
            >
            > Do not stop your vehicle if you encounter rocks or logs in the middle of the road. This is a technique used in Africa for robbers to force vehicles to stop. Either drive around the barriers or turn around. Do not stop to assess the situation.
            >
            > In 2010, there were no acts of regional terrorism in Gabon and no known terrorist organizations. There are some local crime gangs. Organized crime is focused on the drug and ivory trade, as well as human trafficking, which is a major problem for Gabon.
            >
            > Civil unrest is not common in Gabon, although public protests, demonstrations and strikes are fairly common in response to ongoing labor and politically-related difficulties. Labor unions often strike to force management to concede to their demands. These rarely lead to violence, but some incidents have been reported as demonstrators gather for rallies.
            >
            > When a demonstration is pending, the police and gendarme are usually called out to monitor the group. Americans are cautioned to stay away from demonstrations in Gabon, as the police have used force and teargas to disrupt such events. During the course of such events, police do not distinguish between "innocent bystanders" and protesters, and the possibility of becoming a collateral casualty should be a concern for Americans.
            >
            > Environmental Hazards
            > During the summer season, torrential downpours can cause severe damage to villages and bridges. There have been no major natural disasters in recent history. Since November 2009, Libreville has been experiencing unexpected rolling blackouts of electricity and water shortages. Old equipment and spotty maintenance has caused the aging utility infrastructure to fail.
            >
            > Industrial and Transportation Accidents
            > The lack of infrastructure could complicate any rescue or response operation dealing with a transportation accident. The French army has a base located in Libreville and assets at Leon M'ba International Airport and may be able to assist in any major accident. There were no reported airline accidents in Gabon in 2010. The local ground transportation are minibuses that transport passengers around the city and from town to town. Every year, there are a number of serious and fatal accidents involving these taxis. Many of the minibuses lack proper safety equipment such as seat belts and headlights. The drivers are often reckless, making frequent unauthorized stops to pick up passengers and speeding from one stop to the next.
            >
            > Drug and Narcoterrorism
            > Drugs, especially marijuana, are present in Gabon. Avoid being involved in any form of narcotics activity.
            >
            > Police Response
            > Police interaction with tourists and expatriates is generally uneventful. However, road blocks and police checkpoints are frequently erected throughout the country. Always follow the instructions of security forces. In most cases, once the traveler's paperwork is checked, he is released. The police or military may ask for bribes in the form of "coca-cola money,"which should not be paid.
            >
            > 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. It is much better to prevent a crime than try to prosecute it in Gabon. Prosecutions are very slow, if they are even initiated.
            >
            > How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
            > If a U.S. citizen is harassed or detained by the police or other security personnel, he should immediately contact U.S. Embassy Libreville via telephone. The Embassy's main telephone number is +241-76-20-03. The after-hours duty cell phone number is +241-07-38-01-71.
            >
            > Medical Emergencies
            > Medical facilities are not up to U.S. standards and vary according to location in Gabon. The French military has a hospital at their base that could support expatriates injured in remote areas of the country. Libreville has several functional hospitals.
            >
            > Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
            > Simple personal security measures such as holding your valuables, not wearing expensive jewelry, or flashing money will decrease the likelihood of being targeted by criminals for petty crimes of opportunity. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to avoid unfamiliar areas with large crowds, such as beaches or popular streets, especially after dark.
            >
            > There are no scams unique to Gabon. However, an expatriate reported that his ATM cards were stolen and money was withdrawn from his accounts. The thief probably obtained the victim's PIN numbers by monitoring him near the ATM while the victim used it. Additionally, operations where criminals gain entry into vehicles and homes are common. Once in the vehicle or residence, the thief will steal objects close to their proximity. In one such case, a female victim was persuaded to give an unfamiliar woman a ride home from a grocery store. When the driver returned home she noticed her purse was missing.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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