A large group of unidentified gunmen assaulted a gendarmerie camp in Oursi (Oudalan province) near the Malian border on Monday, November 4. According to media reports, the soldiers exchanged gunfire with dozens of attackers for over three hours. At least five gendarmes were killed in the engagement. Unconfirmed media sources also said that at least five civilians also died in the fighting. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the operation.
Similar attacks targeting security forces in northern Burkina Faso are possible in the near term.
Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions on January 1.
Terrorism has become an increasingly severe security threat in Burkina Faso since 2015. Educational institutions, local government officials, and security forces are especially 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 are advised to monitor developments to the security situation, obey local regulations (e.g. state-of-emergency orders), and remain vigilant for criminal and militant activity.
Due to severe 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, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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