A Canadian and an Italian nationals traveling in Burkina Faso are missing as of Monday, January 7. According to their relatives, both stopped giving news from December 15, when they were located in the southwest town of Bobo-Dioulasso. A kidnapping case is feared. Further details will likely be released in the coming days.
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).
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, vary daily schedules and itineraries, refrain from sharing personal information with unknown persons to limit the risk of being targeted by potential kidnappers, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. If attacked, remain calm, do not offer any resistance, and adopt a cooperative attitude. Do everything in your power to keep the situation as calm as possible (accept offered food, engage in conversation initiated by your captors, avoid all political or potentially inflammatory topics, do not do anything that would spook your captors, etc.).
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