Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Curfew Lifted, Travel Restrictions Remain

The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou informs U.S. citizens that the government of Burkina Faso has lifted the curfew which it implemented following the terrorist attacks of January 15 and 16.

Until further notice, the area surrounding the Splendid Hotel, Cappuccino Café, and Yibi Hotel is restricted due to the ongoing investigation (see the attached map).  The restricted area (PDF 336 KB) is generally marked by Ave de l’UEMOA (eastern border), Rue 5.10 (northern), Ave Loundun (western), and an unmarked road to the south (near La Veranda restaurant).  Burkinabe security forces have established control points in this vicinity.

The horrendous incidents during the January 15-17 weekend provide a stark reminder of the very real terrorist threat in Burkina Faso, and the continuing worldwide threat against U.S. citizens and interests.  The Department of State issued a travel warning to inform U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Burkina Faso and U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official government travel to Dori, Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road, as well as Parc National du W (Parc W), the regional national park located on Burkina Faso’s southeastern border with Niger and Benin.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow the same guidance.

Terrorists, and criminals alike, generally strive to achieve their objectives by pursuing targets offering the greatest pay-off and chance of success.  That is, they will often choose easy, unsuspecting, and/or soft targets.  The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou remains committed to the safety and security of all U.S. citizens, organizations, and businesses in Burkina Faso.  However, the first line of security is you. Employing sound personal security practices (see below) are crucial as they often provide a viable deterrence.

Daily habits…

  • Vary your routes and times.
  • Keep your doors locked and windows closed (residence and vehicle).
  • Maintain a low profile.  Avoid doing anything that draws attention to you or your family.
  • Remain alert to what is going on around you.  Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.
  • Make someone aware of your plans when you leave the city. Inform them where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Avoid traveling through any area with a known or reported incident.
  • Know alternate exits and potential safe areas within establishments that you visit.
  • Maintain a go-bag with essentials (money, identification, extra prescription medication, etc.)

When driving…

  • In traffic, always attempt to leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow room to maneuver in the event of an emergency or an attack.
  • Remain alert.  Pay particular attention when approaching choke points (areas with limited egress or restricted traffic flow).  Be prepared to take evasive action at any time.
  • If you find yourself being followed or harassed by another driver, drive to the nearest police station, hotel, or public facility, and immediately call the police for assistance.  Avoid leading the person back to your residence.  Do not stop or exit the vehicle.

In town…

  • Be unpredictable.  Don’t have a set day for shopping, errands, and personal services.  Travel in small groups or convoys (if possible).
  • Walk in an alert, confident manner and don’t travel through questionable parts of town.
  • Avoid spontaneous gatherings or demonstrations.
  • Protect your personal information.  Avoid giving out personal information, such as names of family members or household staff, addresses, or telephone numbers in open settings.  

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