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Burkina Faso News Alert

Burkina Faso: Increased insecurity in the Sahel region (north)

Increased insecurity in the Sahel region forces residents, teachers, and police officers to flee

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/14/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/17/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Ouagadougou). COUNTRY/REGION Soum province, burkina Faso

Event

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at least 15,000 people have fled villages in Soum province (Sahel region, north) due to recurrent Islamist terrorist attacks. The most affected localities include Nassoumbou, Baraboulé, and Diguel. Security operations carried out by the army are also reportedly alarming local residents, who face heavy-handed identity checks, intimidation, and sometimes violence.

Furthermore, at least 20 local police agents have fled the town of Déou (Oudalan province, Sahel region), arguing that they do not have adequate resources to deal with terrorist attacks. A nightly curfew has been implemented in the area, running from 20:00 to 05:00 (local time) until further notice. Following the departure of the security forces from Déou, several teachers decided to leave the town as well, forcing the closure of some schools. However, anti-terrorist forces as well as gendarmes remain in the area.

Context

Terrorism has become an increasingly serious security threat in Burkina Faso, especially in the volatile Sahel region. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam 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 recently increased.

Advice

Due to the 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, remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.

Several Western governments advise against all travel to areas of the northern Sahel region, particularly areas within 40 km (25 mi) of the Malian border. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to traveling to such areas.

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