Six soldiers were killed and one other was wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Soum province on Friday, January 17. A detachment from the Northern Security Forces Group (GFSN) was on a reconnaissance mission in Yalanga, near Arbinda, when their vehicle reportedly struck a roadside bomb. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, though both the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qai'da are known to be active in the area.
Similar attacks are possible in Soum province in the near term.
Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions on January 1, 2019.
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 relating 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.