Unidentified armed men abducted three people - a Burkinabé, an Indian, and a South African national - on Sunday, September 23. The two foreign nationals, workers at a gold mine in Inata, were reportedly traveling with their driver to Djibo (Soum province, Sahel region). The bodies of three gendarmes were discovered in Tongomael, 30 km (18 mi) from the mine, on the morning (local time) of Monday, September 24. According to local sources, the gendarmes were killed during a security operation on Sunday evening to find and release the hostages. According to a military spokesperson, the assailants are believed to be members of one of the various jihadist groups operating in the area. No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction as of September 24.
Terrorism has become an increasingly serious security threat in Burkina Faso, especially in the northern Sahel region, since 2015. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Meanwhile, rates of criminal violence - much of which is interlinked with terrorist activity - have also increased.
Two other foreign nationals abducted in northern Burkina Faso are still being held as of September 2018, including a Romanian mining worker abducted in 2015 and an Australian doctor abducted in 2016.
Due to the serious threats of terrorism and kidnapping, individuals present in Burkina Faso - including the capital Ouagadougou - are strongly advised to be discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. A number of Western governments advise against all travel to areas within 50 km (30 mi) of the Malian border above the Dori-Niangoloko line. Nonessential travel to the western city of Bobo-Dioulasso and border regions of Tapoa province is also advised against due to unstable security conditions along the borders.