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Warden Message

Security Update for Northern Burkina Faso

January 11, 2011

The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou is issuing this message to update U.S. citizens on the security situation in northern Burkina Faso. 

In light of the January 7 kidnapping of two French citizens in Niger, the January 5 attack at the French Embassy in Mali, and ongoing events in the broader Sahel region, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou continues to advise U.S. citizens to avoid travel north of the Djibo-Dori road. 

As stated in our warden message in June 2010, and in subsequent messages, Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and criminal groups linked with this terrorist organization have expressed interest in and demonstrated their capacity for kidnapping Westerners in the Sahel region.

This regional threat posed by AQIM, sporadic banditry, the porous nature of Burkina Faso’s northern borders with Mali and Niger, as well as the area’s remote location, reinforce security concerns affecting travel by U.S. citizens to this area.  The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou has designated rural areas north of this road as “restricted without prior authorization” for purposes of travel by U.S. government employees, contractors, grantees, and their dependents.  If U.S. citizens need to travel in this area, they should exercise extreme caution.  U.S. citizens should continue to maintain good personal security practices throughout Burkina Faso, particularly in areas bordering Mali and Niger. 

U.S. citizens are encouraged to review the current Warden Messages issued by U.S. Embassies in Bamako, Niamey, and Nouakchott, the Country Specific Information for Burkina Faso, and the State Department’s Worldwide Caution. You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou website. You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information you don't have internet access, we have a call center for updates--1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays). 

If you are going to live in or travel to Burkina Faso, please take the time
to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP - ).  If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.  You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date.  It is important during enrollment or updating of information to include your current phone number and current email address where you can be reached in case of an emergency. 

The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou is located in Ouaga 2000, Sector 15, on Avenue Sembene Ousmane, southeast of the Monument aux Heros Nationaux. The Embassy’s telephone number is +226 50 49 53 00. 
The after-hours emergencies, please contact the Embassy’s primary phone number, +226 50 49 53 00, press “1” and ask to speak to the duty officer.