Burkinabé forces assisted by French forces carried out ground and air security operations in the forests of Est region October 5-7, following a series of attacks by suspected Islamist militants against Burkinabé security forces. According to local sources, French forces under Operation Barkhane, an ongoing anti-insurgency operation in the Sahel region, conducted road patrols between Bogandé and Pama.
Despite these operations, further attacks by Islamist militants, as well as associated military operations, are likely in the area in the near-term.
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 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).
On October 6, a military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in Pama (Kompienga province, Est region), killing one soldier. Furthermore, at least six people died in an ambush near the northern town of Sollé (Loroum province) on the same day. On October 4, a military convoy hit a landmine near Gayéri (Komondjari province, Est region), killing at least six soldiers. The evening before, at least 40 unidentified armed men attacked a gendarmerie post in Inata (Soum province, Sahel region), killing one gendarme.
French forces carried out airstrikes in the northern Soum province on October 4.
Due to the severe threats of terrorism and kidnapping, individuals present in Burkina Faso - including in 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. A number of Western governments advise against all travel to areas within 50 km (30 mi) of the Malian border above the Dori-Niangoloko line. Nonessential travel to areas north of the line running from Niangoloko (west) to Pama (east) is also advised against due to unstable security conditions.
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