Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency in provinces across multiple border regions on Monday, December 31, the week after an attack left ten gendarmes dead near the Malian border (Boucle du Mouhoun region). According to a government spokesperson, the state of emergency will apply to certain provinces in the Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Nord, Sahel, Est, and Centre-Est regions; the names of the affected provinces will be provided in a later presidential decree. The order grants security forces additional powers to search homes and restrict otherwise protected rights, notably freedom of movement.
Monday's order follows an ambush targeting security forces near Toéni (Sourou province; Boucle du Mouhoun region) on December 27 that left ten gendarmes dead and three more wounded. The gendarmes were reportedly responding to an attack on a school in the region. The Al-Qa'ida-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) later claimed responsibility for the attack.
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).
Individuals present in Burkina Faso are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to remain abreast of local regulations (notably those linked to any states of emergency in effect). Due to 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, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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