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25 Nov 2019 | 06:52 AM UTC

Burkina Faso: Gunmen briefly abducted four people in Cascades region November 22-23

Unidentified gunmen briefly abducted four people working for a Chinese telecommunication company in Cascades region (west) November 22-23; similar incident possible

security
BFA

Event

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped four people, including a Chinese national, working for a Chinese telecommunication company, in the Cascades region (west) on Friday, November 22. The victims were eventually released the day after, following a security operation in the area. An investigation is ongoing.

Similar incidents are possible in the near term.

Context

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).

Advice

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 behaviour to the authorities.