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21 Jan 2020 | 02:29 PM UTC

Burkina Faso: Militants kill 36 in attack in Sanmatenga province January 20

Militant attack on market in Sanmatenga province leaves 36 dead January 20; similar attacks possible over the near term

security
BFA

Event

Armed militants attacked a market in the village of Alamou (Sanmatenga province) on Monday, January 20, killing at least 36 civilians and burning the village to the ground. The government has classified the incident as a terrorist attack.

Similar attacks are possible in Sanmatenga province over the near term.

Context

Burkina Faso declared a state of emergency for the country's border regions on January 1, 2019, to remain in effect until January 12, 2021.

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).

Advice

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.