Local authorities reportedly found a Canadian national kidnapped by unidentified assailants on Tuesday, January 15, at a mining site in Tiabongou (Yagha province) dead in Oudalan province on Thursday, January 17. Officials indicated that the victim was an employee of a foreign mining company and might have been targeted by armed jihadists operating in the region. Further such attacks and abductions targeting foreign nationals are possible in the region in the near-term.
A Canadian and Italian national were also reported missing in Burkina Faso in recent weeks; the two were reportedly traveling through the country when they last contacted family in mid-December.
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). The government implemented a state of emergency in several regions in early January, including in areas along the Malian border.
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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