Taxi Express Kidnappings
December 23, 2008
As highlighted in our latest Warden Message, Nicaragua routinely experiences an increase in crime during the month of December, with the theft of jewelry, money, credit cards, vehicles and other valuables in unattended areas being primary targets.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when approached by strangers offering assistance. Several U.S. citizens traveling by bus from San Juan del Sur to Managua have reported being victimized by fellow women travelers who offered to assist them in locating and/or sharing a taxi upon arrival in Managua. In all cases, upon entering the taxi, the U.S. citizens have been held at knife-point, robbed of their valuables and driven around to ATM machines to withdraw funds from their accounts.
Visitors should use officially registered taxicabs. Radio-dispatched taxis are recommended and can be found at the International Airport and at the larger hotels. Robbery, kidnapping, and assault on passengers in taxis in Managua are increasing in frequency and violence, with passengers subjected to beating, sexual assault, stabbings, and even murder. Several U.S. citizens reported brutal attacks in taxis during 2008, particularly around the International Airport area.
On December 22, the U.S. State Department updated the Country Specific Information (CSI) on Nicaragua to highlight the security concerns above as well as others. You can find a link to the CSI on the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_985.html.
Please note that the U.S. Embassy will be closed December 25 – 26 and January 1.
Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy’s website (http://nicaragua.usembassy.gov) and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review to "A Safe Trip Abroad," found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html, which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
The U.S. Embassy in Managua is located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua. The U.S. Embassy in Managua can be reached 24/7 at 011-505-2-252-7100. For emergencies (deaths, arrests, etc.) after hours, U.S. citizens can call this phone number and ask for the Embassy Duty Officer. The ACS unit is also available by email at ACS.Managua@state.gov.
General information regarding consular services is available by calling 011-505-2-252-7888. Non-emergency services for U.S. citizens are available Monday through Friday, 1:00 to 3:00 PM, except on Nicaraguan and U.S. holidays.