The jihadist attack on the “Cappuccino” restaurant and the “Hotel Splendid” on January 15, 2016 with 33 dead put an end to Burkina Faso’s reputation as a safe and quiet country. After a series of attacks, jihadists last attacked a military camp and civilians at Christmas 2019.
The Federal Foreign Office has been warning against traveling to the north (area north of Ouahigouya, Djibo, Aribinda and Dori) for some time, as there are kidnappings of the Islamist network “Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb” (AQMI), which is anchored in the region, or theirs Subcontractors could come. Islamist terrorists are very likely operating from the north or east in the border area with Mali and Niger. In these countries there have already been kidnappings of Europeans, some of which were fatal.
After the French intervention in Mali in 2013, many Islamists are said to have fled to Burkina Faso, which led to uncertainty.
At the end of 2016, President Kabore announced the purchase of helicopters and 150 vehicles to fight terrorism. At the same time, the newly appointed chief of staff wants to increase the military presence at the borders.
The USA is cooperating with the Burkinabe institutions in the area of security in the Sahel and the Trans-Saharan Zone. The establishment of an American drone base in northern Burkina Faso is under discussion.
Current safety information can also be found in the US Department of State’s ” Crime and Safety Report 2020 “.
Road robberies and road safety
Of attacks on coaches is reported repeatedly since 2005, even if they were accompanied by police convoys. In the east and south-east there were heavy raids on the highways of the Fada- Pama border Benin, Fada- Bogandé, Fada-Kantchari, Kantchari-Diapaga, often also in broad daylight [ video ]. In July 2015, cross-border cooperation between the security forces (Togo-Burkina) enabled a criminal network with its center in Fada to be excavated. Since then it has become a little quieter. Also the north, the southwest and the Bobo-Boromo route has not been spared from raids in the past.
Overland journeys at night are not only dangerous because of the threat of attacks, but also because vehicles are not lit. There are frequent accidents, are involved in the buses and trucks. We therefore strongly advise against cross-country journeys in the dark.
Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are not gangster towns where you shouldn’t leave the house in the dark. Urban crime has so far been on the rise. Since the popular uprising on October 30th, 2014, during which a lot of pent-up aggressiveness was discharged, the atmosphere has become more peaceful and crime in the cities has decreased slightly. Break-ins and petty crime (e.g. stealing cell phones and wallets at mass events) continue to occur frequently. Carrying bags and handbags provokes robberies. In the past there were street attacks with stabbing weapons, which also killed Germans. To quickly rob cars (laptop theft), punctures are often provoked, which are intended to distract the driver.
There are three types of police in Burkina Faso:
- Gendarmerie – it is integrated in the military and also controls traffic outside the cities.
- Police Nationale – reports to the Ministry of the Interior and can be found across the country.
- Police Municipale – it is responsible for traffic in the cities and cannot be found outside the cities.
The government of Burkina Faso set up a new unit in September 2016. Its task is to monitor the behavior of the police and gendarmerie during operations and to determine whether they are following the instructions of their superiors. Bad practices of the police, which have crept in just like the ubiquitous corruption, are thus to be combated and a better reputation of the police in the population should be restored.
Police emergency number: 17
Fire brigade: 18