The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Burkina Faso, and recommends they avoid travel to the northern part of the Sahel region, and exercise caution in the rest of Burkina Faso, due to continuing threats to safety and security, including terrorism. The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services in remote and rural areas of the country is limited. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning issued on January 20, 2016.
The security environment in Burkina Faso is fluid and attacks are possible anywhere in the country, including Ouagadougou. ISIS, al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al-Murabitun terrorist organizations and affiliates have declared their intention to attack foreign targets in North and West Africa. In January 2016, armed assailants attacked civilians at the Splendid Hotel and Cappuccino restaurant in Ouagadougou, killing 30 people, including one U.S. citizen. AQIM and al-Murabitun claimed responsibility for the attack. Violent extremist groups increased their activities in Burkina Faso's Sahel region in 2016 and 2017, attacking police stations, customs offices, military posts, and schools in Koutougou, Intangom, Markoye, Tinakoff, Nassoumbou, Kourfayel, and Baraboule.
In the border regions shared by Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, extremist groups and linked criminal networks have targeted Westerners for kidnapping. These northern regions are extremely remote, and the ability of the governments of either Burkina Faso or the United States to provide emergency assistance there is very limited.
Due to the risk of attacks throughout the Sahel region, the U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official government travel to Dori and Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road. Embassy personnel traveling to or staying at Parc National du W (Parc W), the regional national park located on Burkina Faso's southeastern border with Niger and Benin, must arrange armed escort with Burkina Faso security forces. U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow the same guidance.
U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Burkina Faso should maintain situational awareness at all times, and have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance. Take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violence, including limiting trips to locations frequented by Westerners.
Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council