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03 Oct 2018 | 04:56 AM UTC

Burkina Faso: Gendarmerie post attacked in Lanfiera October 1

Armed militants attack the Lanfiera gendarmerie post (Sourou province) October 1; additional attacks possible in the coming weeks

security
BFA

Event

According to local security sources, more than ten suspected Islamist militants attacked a gendarmerie post in Lanfiera (Sourou province; north) on Monday, October 1, causing major material damage and severely injuring at least three gendarmes. The attack reportedly lasted for three hours. A security operation is ongoing in the area as of October 3. Additional attacks on local officials and security forces are possible in the coming days.

Context

Terrorism has become an increasingly serious security threat in Burkina Faso, especially in the northern Sahel region, since 2015. Educational institutions, officials, and security forces are particularly targeted. Initially concentrated in the Sahel region, attacks have spread to spread to other regions, including eastern Burkina Faso which is also known for significant criminal activities. Attacks are usually attributed to Ansarul Islam and other groups affiliated with Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Meanwhile, rates of criminal violence - much of which is interlinked with terrorist activity - have also recently increased. According to an official account released in mid-September, jihadist attacks have killed at least 118 people since 2015.

Advice

Several Western governments advise against all travel to areas of the northern Sahel region in Burkina Faso, particularly areas within 40 km (25 mi) of the Malian border, as well as in the southeastern Tapoa province, near the Nigerien border. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to traveling to such areas. More generally, individuals across the country are advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners due to the latent risk of terrorist activity and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.

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