French forces carried out airstrikes in Soum province on Thursday, October 4, following a series of attacks by suspected jihadist militants against Burkinabé forces. According to a military spokesperson, French forces under Operation Barkhane, an ongoing anti-insurgent operation in the Sahel region, bombed a column of fighters suspected of having carried an attack on October 3 against a gendarmerie post in Inata. Additional attacks by jihadist militants and associated military operations are likely in the area in the near-term.
On Thursday, October 4, a military convoy traveling to Foutouri from Fada N'Gourma hit a landmine near Gayéri (Komondjari province, Est region), killing at least six soldiers and injuring one other. The evening before, at least 40 unidentified armed men attacked a gendarmerie post in Inata (Soum province, Sahel region), killing one gendarme, injuring another, and causing significant material damages.
Terrorism has become an increasingly severe security threat in Burkina Faso, especially in the northern Sahel region, since 2015. Educational institutions, officials, and security forces are particularly targeted. Initially concentrated in the Sahel region, attacks have spread to other regions, including eastern Burkina Faso which is also known for significant criminal activities. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Due to the severe 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 areas north of the line running from Niangoloko (west) to Pama (east) is also advised against due to unstable security conditions.
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