Two French tourists abducted on Wednesday, May 1, in Pendjari National Park (Atakora department, Benin) were rescued overnight (local time) on May 9-10 during a French-led military operation in northern Burkina Faso. According to the French government, two other foreign nationals - an American and South Korean - were also rescued. Two French soldiers and four assailants were killed in the operation.
Militant groups are not regularly active in Benin; however, terrorism has become an increasingly severe threat in Burkina Faso. Some Western government have advised citizens from traveling to northern areas of Benin along the border with Burkina Faso and Niger.
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).
Individuals in Burkina Faso and northern Benin are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for criminal and militant activity, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
As a precaution, individuals are strongly advised to be discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc.
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