On Tuesday, October 23, the British Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its Burkina Faso travel advisory, advising its citizens to avoid travel "within 40 km [25mi] of the eastern border with Niger [as well as in] the southeastern provinces of Gourma, Kompienga, and Tapoa (including the W National Park and the Arly National Park and their contiguous reserves and hunting areas)" due to the serious risk posed by the increased jihadist presence in the area. The French government also advises against travel along the Nigerien border, as well as within Tapoa province.
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 (Est region) 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; 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 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.
As a reminder, a number of Western governments also advise against all travel to areas within 50 km (30 mi) of the Malian border above the Dori-Douna line. The French government also advises against nonessential travel to areas north of the line running from Niangoloko (west) to Pama (east) due to the unstable security conditions.
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