Security Update for Northern Burkina Faso
September 23, 2010
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 September 16 kidnapping of seven foreigners from northern Niger and ongoing events in the broader Sahel region, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou continues to urge U.S. citizens to avoid travel north of the Djibo-Dori road.
Since early June 2010, the Department has been aware of several separate sources of information suggesting the ongoing interest of Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist organization and/or of criminal groups linked with AQIM in kidnapping Westerners in the Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso border area.
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 the U.S. Embassies in Bamako, Niamey, and Nouakchott, the Country Specific Information for Burkina Faso, and the State Department’s Worldwide Caution.
The State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services publishes the latest travel information on the Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov. That office can be reached from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday, by calling 1-888-407-4747 from within the United States and Canada, or by calling 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Burkina Faso are encouraged to register with the Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, so they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Burkina Faso. Citizens without Internet access may register directly with the Embassy. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of 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. Additional local information, as well as recent warden messages, is available on the Embassy’s website, http://ouagadougou.usembassy.gov. For 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.
This Message Updates and Replaces Warden Messages sent in June, July and August 2010.