SIERRA LEONE

The Department of State warns all Americans to defer travel to Sierra Leone.
The American Embassy has suspended operations in Sierra Leone due to the instability and ongoing fighting there. Those Americans who continue to remain in Sierra Leone despite this warning should leave immediately, and be aware that there are no U.S. Government officials there to assist them.

Country Description: Sierra Leone is a constitutional democracy. Liberia is a developing west African country which has suffered internal strife for the past several years. Tourism facilities are poor and, in some cases, non-existent. It is on the western side of Africa and borders the North Atlantic Ocean, Liberia and Guinea.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Travelers who plan a trip to Liberia despite this warning are required to have a passport and a visa prior to arrival. Evidence of yellow fever vaccinations is required. An exit permit must be obtained from Liberian immigration authorities before departure.

Road Conditions: The road situations in Sierra Leone are primative outside the capital, Freetown, and towns. Travel is best with guides. Transporation is limited.

Medical Facilities: Limited daytime air service exists only from Freetown. Overland routes to neighboring countries are not open.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Based on English law and customary laws indigenous to local tribes. Crime rate is extremely high. Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, have been targets of street crime and violent robbery in their homes. The police are ill-equipped and largely incapable of providing effective protection.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April).

Embassy Location/Registration: Corner of Walpole and Siaka Stevens Streets
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telephone: [232] (22) 226481 through 226485;
FAX: [232] (22) 225471

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