On Wednesday, October 3, police arrested two of the three armed men who carried out an attack near the Essakane gold mining site (Oudalan province; Sahel region; northeast) earlier in the day. While initial reports suggested the assailants intended to attack the mine and abduct mining workers, the suspects, when confessing to the attack, stated it was criminal in nature and had targeted a villager.
Rates of criminal violence - much of which is interlinked with terrorist activity - have increased in the northern region, especially around gold mine areas. Meanwhile, 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).
On a related note, three workers at a gold mine were kidnapped in Djibo (Sahel region) on September 23.
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.
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