Unidentified gunmen and army forces clashed in the Tayaret area (Sahel region) on Wednesday, December 19. According to local media reports, a military convoy was ambushed by the attackers while traveling in the area. An improvised explosive device (IED) was also discovered and successfully defused. Additional clashes between suspected militants and security forces are possible in the Sahel region over the near term.
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). According to an official account released in mid-September, jihadist attacks have killed over 115 people since 2015; more than 20 attacks were recorded in the Est region since February 2018.
Due to the 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.