Safety and Security
U.S. citizens traveling to, and residing in, Burkina Faso are urged to exercise caution and maintain a high level of security awareness at all times. Roadside banditry and other violent crimes sometimes occur in Burkina Faso, especially in remote and border areas. U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling along the northern areas of the country near the Mali and Niger borders. The Sahel region of Burkina Faso is extremely remote, and the ability of both the Government of Burkina Faso and the Embassy to render assistance in the event of an emergency there is limited. The U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official government travel on the road stretching from Djibo to Dori, and to all areas north. While there have been no known terrorist incidents (bombings, hijackings, or kidnappings) directed against foreigners in Burkina Faso, it is prudent to be aware of events occurring in neighboring countries.
Burkina Faso shares a boarder with Mali. On January 11, 2013 the Malian military launched military operations against terrorist groups that have been in control of northern Mali. As a result, terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnappings against Westerners, particularly against those countries which support international military intervention in Mali. The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist organization and their affiliates could therefore target Westerners in Burkina Faso, especially in the regions of the north near Mali and Niger.
Ouagadougou occasionally experiences demonstrations and civil unrest. Although most demonstrations are generally peaceful, there have been incidents of violence, looting, and destruction of property. Instances may arise where the best safe course of action is to shelter temporarily in place. U.S. citizens should remain informed of current developments, avoid crowds political gatherings, and street demonstrations, even if these appear to be peaceful.