Safety and security
Political Stability / Unrest
Security and stability in Liberia have improved since internal conflict in the country ended in 2003. However, tensions remain and there is still a risk of violence. We strongly advise you to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Liberia and to consider and plan any proposed travel carefully.
The security situation in Liberia is unpredictable, particularly outside of Monrovia, notably close to the border with Côte d’Ivoire. You should avoid all non-essential travel to Grand Gedeh, River Ghee and Maryland counties where there have been reports of armed groups living in areas bordering Côte d’Ivoire.
The threat of terrorism in Liberia is low, although there is a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which can target areas frequented by foreign tourists.
Crime levels, including violent crime, armed robberies and sexual assaults, are high in Liberia. Most crimes are opportunistic theft, with the perpetrators often armed with knives or firearms. The risk of burglaries increases around Christmas, from November until the New Year. Be vigilant at all times, particularly after dark when crime levels are higher and always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Take a number of photocopies of your passport with you in case your passport is lost or stolen. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid carrying valuables or large sums of cash in public.
- Take particular care when in large crowds or when out at night, especially in central Monrovia or in the beach area, or at bars or nightclubs. Concerts and sporting events are often crowded and unsafe, and pickpocketing is common.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- Make sure that your accommodation and vehicle are well secured, with locked doors and windows at all times.
If you’re a victim of crime while in Liberia, you should make a report to the local police and contact the Embassy of Ireland in Sierra Leone.
If you’re planning to drive in Liberia, you should be extremely careful as traffic accidents are common and collisions can attract hostile crowds. Road conditions are generally poor, including in Monrovia, and deteriorate during the rainy season from May to October as heavy rains damage road surfaces and create large potholes. Most roads have no street lighting or painted markings. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for minor roads outside of Monrovia. You should avoid travelling after dark outside of urban areas.
Emergency medical services in Liberia are limited, and poorly equipped to deal with road traffic accidents, particularly those involving complex trauma. Therefore, extra caution should be exercised when using the road, either as a driver or as a passenger. Road traffic accidents can lead to heated disputes. If you are caught up in a serious road traffic accident, you are advised to remain inside your vehicle, with the doors locked, until such time as the police arrive. If it becomes unsafe to remain at the scene of a road traffic accident, you should make your way immediately to the local police station to report the incident.
If you are travelling outside of Monrovia, you should plan your journey in advance, and travel in convoy where possible, to avoid being stranded in the case of breakdowns.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked, especially when stopped in traffic.
- Remember that in Liberia, you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Private taxis, motorbike taxis or mini buses available for public transport can be hazardous as vehicle maintenance and driving standards are often very poor and vehicles overcrowded.
Higher risk activities
Currents and riptides are strong and unpredictable on Liberia’s beaches, making swimming conditions very dangerous. Beaches are not manned by lifeguards. Canoes and fishing boats offering passenger services along the coast are often overwhelmed by waves and should be avoided.
Corruption and fraud
Corruption is common in Liberia. Business fraud against foreigners is also a problem. If you’re thinking of making an investment or entering into a contract, we advise you to research the person or company concerned before making any commitments. Be particularly careful when the business opportunity is the result of unsolicited contact or promises rapid financial gain.
Liberia shares its border with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. If you’re visiting border areas, you should get local advice and keep informed of political developments. Particular caution should be exercised in Grand Gedeh, River Ghee and Maryland counties, where there have been reports of armed groups living in areas bordering Côte d’Ivoire.
Thu, 08 Jun 2017 09:51:13 BST