Security Advisory: Burkina Faso (5 October 2018)October 5, 2018 in Burkina Faso
Overnight on Wednesday 3 October to Thursday 4 October unidentified gunmen launched an attack on the security post of Inata gold mine, located about 60 km (35 miles) from Djibo, the provincial capital of Soum province. Significant material damage has been reported, including five burned mine vehicles. The attack is believed to have been carried out by an insurgent cell composed of several armed men, transported by at least two vehicles and motorcycles. The gendarmes fought back for several hours. Calm has since returned to the region after the intervention air support provided by Operation Barkhane.
Initially, a number of international security companies had mis-reported this incident as an attack at the Essakane gold mine – which has now been confirmed as a false reporting and was confused with an unrelated robbery incident in the Essakane hamlet and not at the mine. Given the fluid security situation in Burkina Faso, particularly in the northern region, and across the wider Sahel, it is necessary to ensure the validity of all incidents being reported. Failure to do so will only promote fear and distrust, which may lead to further chaos. The escalations in attacks and the increasing use of kidnapping and IEDs has elevated concerns to those watching the region closely.
Further incidents are likely to occur as the area has seen a number of attacks in recent weeks, including the 23 September incident involving the kidnapping of three mine workers – a Burkinabe national, a South African, and an Indian who is reportedly a member of the family who earlier in the year purchased the Inata mine out of financial distress – who were taken by armed men between Djibo and the mine. Three police officers were later killed during the search for the kidnapped mineworkers, whose current whereabouts remain unknown. Days later, on 26 September, eight members of the Burkina Faso security forces were killed when a roadside bomb hit their patrol vehicle on the road between Djibo and Baraboule.
MS Risk currently advises against all travel to the following parts of the Burkina Faso:
- All areas of the country north of the town of Boulsa
- Areas within 40 kilometres (24 miles) of the western border with Mali
- The W National Park in the southeast of the country, bordering Benin and Niger
MS Risk currently advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Burkina Faso, including the provinces of Tapoa, Kompienga, Gourma, and Komondjari, and the capital Ouagadougou. All travellers to Burkina Faso should remain vigilant at all times as militants may be planning further attacks that could target areas that are popular with foreigners, including hotels, cafes and restaurants, and resorts. Western interests across the region, including in Burkina Faso, may also be targeted.