Four employees of the local Red Cross NGO are missing as of Monday, February 4. According to the NGO, the four were heading from Kaya to the northern town of Djibo (Soum province; Sahel region) on February 2, when they stopped giving news. A kidnapping case is feared. Further details will likely be released in the coming days.
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).
On a related note, the kidnappping threat remains high in Burkina Faso, especially along the border region with Mali. On September 23, three employees of the Inata gold mine located in northern Burkina Faso - a Burkinabe, a South African, and an Indian national - were abducted while traveling to Djibo before being released a month later. On January 16, 2016, an Australian couple was kidnapped in the Baraboulé area (Soum province) by AQIM militants; the woman was released one month later, though her husband is still being held hostage.
On January 1, 2019, the government declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions, to be in effect for six months.
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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