Taxi Kidnappings - July 21, 2010
As reported in our Country Specific Information brochure on Nicaragua, violent crime in Nicaragua is increasing. In the past month, nearly a dozen taxi kidnappings have been reported.
U.S. citizens should exercise particular caution when befriended by strangers on a bus who then offer assistance in locating and/or sharing a taxi once the bus arrives at its final destination. In all cases, the incidents involved someone who won the U.S. citizen's trust and offered to share or locate a taxi cab for them. After entering the taxi, the U.S. citizens were held at knife-point and/or gun-point, threatened with bodily injury and/or rape, robbed of their valuables and driven around to ATM machines to withdraw funds from their accounts. After the assault, the U.S. citizen victims were left abandoned and destitute in remote areas. The assailants have had various profiles including a young pregnant woman and men and women of various ages.
The U.S. Embassy has received numerous other credible reports of passengers in taxis being subjected to beatings, sexual assaults and stabbings. These taxi kidnappings and attacks have occurred around the International Airport, along bus routes to and from San Juan del Sur, San Jorge, Granada, Managua, Esteli and Masaya as well as in the city of Managua.
The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens visiting or living in Nicaragua should only use officially registered taxicabs which can be identified by the same registration number appearing on the license plate, the car's trunk and on one of the side doors. Radio-dispatched taxis are also reliable and can generally be found at the International Airport and at the larger hotels.
Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy's website and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, 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", 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.