Multiple groups of unidentified gunmen launched almost simultaneous assaults on two military positions in northern Burkina Faso on the morning (local time) of Thursday, November 21. Positions in Kelbo (Soum province) and Namissiguima (Sanmatenga province) were targeted, resulting in at least three soldiers being killed and several wounded. According to military officials, vehicles were stolen during the attacks and the positions suffered significant material damages. An operation to find the attackers was launched later on Thursday.
Similar attacks targeting security forces or civilians in northern Burkina Faso are possible in the near term.
The attacks came a day after a large group of unidentified gunmen attacked a police post in Arbinda (Soum province; North) on November 20, killing at least one police officer and wounding seven others.
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).
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 behavior to the authorities.