Militants killed 35 civilians and seven members of security forces in an attack on a military unit and civilians near Arbinda (Soum province) on Tuesday, December 24. Security forces also reportedly killed some 80 militants as they repelled the assailants.
Similar militant attacks are possible in the region over the near term.
Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions on January 1, to remain in effect until January 12, 2020.
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. 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.