Sunday, December 16, 2007

NGO Security Scenario #10

You are working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A national staff driver is taking you and a program manager to a meeting with a government official to discuss security issues with food distribution. You are in an older car, marked with your organization's name and logo. As you head into the city, you encounter a protest and are surrounded by people. They slash the car's tires and break a window. Your driver talks to them, calming the situation down, and they leave. The driver says the police and military are coming, and that the car is in the middle of what looks like will be a violent confrontation. The car can't be driven, and you make the decision to leave the area on foot. The driver is only vaguely familiar with the neighborhood. Press the play button below to see and hear what you encounter.

What is your plan? How will you accomplish it? What are the primary threats? What are you carrying with you that will be of assistance? Share your thoughts by clicking on COMMENTS below.


Blogger Kevin Toomer said...

The threats:

* Physical violence from the crowd and/or police.

* Arrest.

Useful Items:

* mobile phone
* radio or satphone
* map
* gps

The Plan:

My plan would be to quickly but calmly move to the nearest safe point. I would move to the nearest edge of the crowd and then move towards safety. Since I would already have identified potential safe points (some possibilities depending on context - police stations, hospitals, banks, major hotels, churches, UN compounds, INGO compounds) I would have a good idea of which direction to travel in.

I would avoid running and try to remain as inconspicuous as possible. I would stay in regular contact with base to keep them appraised of our location and condition.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Pemba said...

I agree with Kevin on the threats and what i would need to carry.

My plan would be to move out of harms way as soon as possible, get a taxi and ask the taxi driver to take us back to our offices using the safest route and promise the driver that you will pay him an extra us $50. I would also inform the office about the transport we are using.


Late last year, one of our company drivers went to congo to make a delivery of goods but was later arrested by the police and kept in police cells for over two weeks. when we got the message that the driver was in police custody, i was asked to go to congo and secure his release.

The problems started from the border with zambia when the congo immigration refused to attend to me because i had to use a travel consultant to have my passport stamped. This cost me US $20.00 for having the passport stamped.

When we got to Lubumbashi, i couldnt see the driver because i needed to pay some unknown "GENERAL" before i could see the driver.Finally i got fed up and decided to use the consulate who wrote a long letter to the Governor and complained about the behavior of the police.

This incident taught me one thing that whenever in congo and in trouble, you must never give in to demands made by soldiers and if they insist on harassing you, get to your nearest embassy and complain. Once they congolese officials notice that your government is now involved, they will stop the funny demands.

Having said that, you are better off having some US$ in your pocket around 200-300 in small notes for payment of taxis etc when trouble breaks out. Finally i believe there is no law and order in that country.

The police, military, traffic police, etc all expect to be paid their salaries by the people who are unfortunate to get caught

8:32 AM  

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