Security/Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Reports of Child Abductions

United States Embassy Abidjan, Cote-D’Ivoire
Security/Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens:  
Reports of Child Abductions
January 31, 2015 

To the American Citizen Community:

With recent reports of child abductions in the greater Abidjan area, the US Embassy wants to stress the importance of being vigilant for the personal safety of your children.  The crime pattern does not suggest Americans or areas frequented by the American community represent a priority target, there are a number of steps you and your children can take to help ensure your safety.  Avoid leaving your children without direct supervision , instruct your children to refuse any approaches by persons that they don’t know and to immediately react (by screaming, kicking, biting, etc.) in order to attract as much attention as possible.

Additionally, we recommend for those who have children attending schools here that you contact the schools to review the controls in place to ensure their safety while at school. We are most concerned with the following procedures:

Have you designated someone specific to pick-up or drop-off your child? Does the school have a copy of this person’s identification and/or picture?
Is that person signing in and out during pick-up and drop-off?
Are they dropping the child off to a specific and identifiable school official?
Have the schools been given instructions on what to do if they are unsure of the person picking up the children?
Does the school have your contact information in the event of an emergency?
Are the drop-offs and pick-ups being done within the secure perimeter of the school or outside in a public area?

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Cote-d’Ivoire enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Cote-d’Ivoire.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Abidjan is located in the Riviera Golf neighborhood of the Cocody section of Abidjan and is open07:45 am to 16:30 pm (225) 22-49-40-00.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is (225) 22-49-44-50.