According to the UN, the wave of violent attacks in the Sahel and Est regions has displaced over 38,000 people since January, as of mid-October 2018. Of these, over 10,000 have reportedly fled in recent weeks due to an upsurge in attacks. The total number of displaced people in the country represents an increase of 500 percent as compared to 2017.
Terrorism has become an increasingly severe security threat in Burkina Faso since 2015. Educational institutions, local government officials, and security forces are specifically targeted. Initially concentrated in the Sahel region, attacks have spread to other regions, including eastern Burkina Faso which is also known for high crime rates. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). According to an official account released in mid-September, jihadist attacks have killed at least 118 people since 2015. Furthermore, at least 22 attacks were recorded in the Est region since February 2018.
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, 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.