Threat level: Medium
Guinea-Bissau is an extremely poor country, despite this there is a relatively low level of crime. There is currently a globally heightened threat of terror. All travellers to Guinea-Bissau should keep this threat in mind. Foreign nationals from western countries should maintain an extra level of vigilance, as they are thought to be high priority targets.
Recent Security Events
In 2012, troops in Guinea Bissau seized control of the capital city, Bissau, in the beginnings of a coup d’état. There were curfews in place and the prime minister and interim prime minister were arrested. After condemnation by many international organisations, the military handed the power of the country over to a transitional civilian government who were given a year to organise parliamentary and presidential polls.
The government has not been recognised internationally and elections have not taken place. There remains political instability in the country – tourists should be aware that demonstrations frequently occur and can sometime turn violent with little warning.
Land mines are a problem in some areas of the country. If you drive outside of the capital city, you should take local advice and stick to main roads to avoid the risk of land mines.
There have been an increase in reports of armed banditry in the area between the southern border of The Gambia and the north-western border of Guinea-Bissau. You should be extra cautious when travelling to these regions and avoid travelling at night. It is also advised that you travel in convoys when possible.
There are some problems with petty crime in Guinea-Bissau such as pick pocketing, however incidents of this nature are rare. To reduce the risk avoid carrying large sums of cash and do not have expensive jewellery on show.
Guinea-Bissau enjoys many friendly bilateral relations with countries such as France, Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Egypt, and Nigeria. Guinea-Bissau is a member of the United Nations and many of its specialized and related agencies, including the World Bank.
The road conditions and driving standards are both quite poor. During the rainy season (June to October) roads are frequently affected by flooding and landslides which can lead to road accidents, long detours and travel delays. You should bear this in mind and plan it into your journey if you are driving long distances.
You can drive in Guinea-Bissau with most national driving licences including from the UK, EU and the United States. Some roads are only passable with four wheel drive throughout the year.