On Tuesday, March 19, the Ministry of Education announced that two teachers from the town of Djibo (Soum provice; North) who were kidnapped on March 11, where eventually found dead on Monday, March 18. Furthermore, a Catholic priest abducted on March 17 near Djibo, is still missing as of Wednesday, March 20. Further such incidents are likely in the coming days.
Approximately 1135 schools have reportedly closed in recent months in Burkina Faso after being increasingly targeted by jihadist militant groups who are opposed to Western education.
Terrorism has become an increasing security threat in Burkina Faso since 2015. Educational institutions, local government officials, and security forces have been specifically targeted. Initially concentrated in the Sahel region in the north of the country, activity has since spread to other regions. Attacks are most frequently attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On Tuesday, January 1, 2019, the government declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions, to be in effect for six months.
Individuals in Burkina Faso are advised to monitor developments to the security situation and applicable regulations (e.g. state of emergency orders) and remain vigilant of criminal and militant activity. Due to severe risk of terrorism and kidnapping, individuals present in Burkina Faso - including the capital Ouagadougou - are strongly advised to use discretion regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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