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Travel Warning: Burkina Faso

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Burkina Faso yesterday.  It reads as follows:

Burkina Faso

April 19, 2011

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Burkina Faso and recommends U.S. citizens defer traveling to the country due to increasing security concerns relating to incidents of violence and lawlessness in numerous cities throughout the country since February 22, 2011. The government of Burkina Faso has not yet been able to restore complete control. The overall situation remains tense and unpredictable. In Ouagadougou, and several other cities throughout the country, including Fada N’Gourma, and Tenkodogo, mutineering soldiers have protested violently, looted, and committed carjackings. There also have been violent protests by other groups. For example, in Ouagadougou from April 14-16, heavily armed individuals in military and civilian clothing were shooting, and attacked several residences of government officials, robbed a number of private homes, raided numerous hotels, and forcibly seized government and private vehicles (most of which were recovered with minimal damage). On April 16, protesting civilians destroyed some government and private buildings and property. From April 16-18, there was renewed violence from mutineering soldiers in a few other cities.U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso are encouraged to maintain good situational and security awareness and to remain informed of current events. Instances may arise where the best course of action may be to temporarily shelter in place if it is otherwise generally safe to do so. Authorities have periodically imposed curfews, and citizens are advised to abide by these curfews and stay tuned to local developments. Be sure to consult the Embassy’s website for further information and warden messages which may suggest additional safety and security measures, including curfews for Embassy employees, and consider abiding by these same measures.

U.S. citizens should also be aware of the security risks in Burkina Faso due to kidnapping threats against Westerners by Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Please consult the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution dated January 31, 2011, which addresses the threat AQIM poses to Westerners throughout the Sahel Region.

The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou strongly encourages U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burkina Faso to enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the embassy. The Department of State’s latest Country Specific Information sheet for Burkina Faso and the Worldwide Caution are located on the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Recent warden messages may be found on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou.

Current safety and security information is also available toll-free at 1-888-407-4747 from within the United States and Canada, or at regular toll rates at 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside of the United States and Canada, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

The U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou is located at Avenue Sembene Ousmane, Secteur 15, Ouaga 2000 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The telephone number during business hours is +226 50 49 53 00 and after-hours emergency, is +226-70-20-24-14. The consular fax is +226 50 49 56 23.

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Written by OSB

20/04/2011 at 15:08

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