Unidentified assailants reportedly attacked a military patrol in Ariel (northern Sahel region) on Thursday, November 9. At least four militants were killed and four soldiers injured during the hours of clashes that followed. Ammunition was also seized by the army. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although the Ansarul Islam group is highly suspected.
Terrorism has become an increasingly serious security threat in Burkina Faso, especially in the volatile northern Sahel region. Terrorist attacks are usually attributed to the Ansarul Islam group and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Meanwhile, rates of criminal violence - much of which is interlinked with terrorist activity - have also increased.
Due to serious threats of terrorism and kidnapping, individuals present in Burkina Faso 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 (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise against all travel to areas within 50 km (30 mi) of the Malian border.
On a related note, nonessential travel to the western city of Bobo-Dioulasso and border regions of Tapoa province is also advised against due to unstable security conditions.
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