Unidentified militants attacked a village in Soum province (Sahel region) in the early afternoon (local time) of Thursday, January 10. According to local sources, at least 12 people were killed and several others wounded in the assault, which took targeted Gasseliki village in Arbinda department. The militants reportedly set fire to several buildings before fleeing. Further attacks are possible in the Soum province in the coming days.
Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions, including Soum province. The 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 in Burkina Faso are advised to monitor developments to the security situation in northern Burkina Faso and applicable regulations (e.g. state of emergency orders) and remain vigilant for criminal and militant activity.
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.
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