News / Africa

Burkina Faso Says Foreign Tourists Are Safe

Burkina Faso's government says visiting foreigners are safe, despite U.S. and French warnings about alleged terrorist activity.

The U.S. Embassy evacuated Americans from northern Burkina Faso last week, saying an al-Qaida-affilated group planned to kidnap a U.S. citizen or Westerner in the city of Ouahigouya.

In a statement Friday, the Burkinabe government acknowledged the terrorist threat and said it is taking additional measures to ensure security.

Reuters news agency quotes the foreign minister, Alain Yoda, as saying security measures already in place have shown to be effective.

A group known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has carried out kidnappings and attacks in Burkina Faso's neighbors Mali and Niger.  

Citing threats of terrorism in Mali and Niger, the French Foreign Ministry has issued warnings about travel to Burkina Faso's far north.

In a July 1 message, the U.S. Embassy said it had information that a group affiliated affiliated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb was planning kidnappings in Ouahigouya.  The embassy declared the city and its surroundings off-limits to U.S. government travelers and urged Americans to avoid travel to the area.

In June, the embassy declared a separate part of northern Burkina Faso off-limits, citing a threat of kidnappings by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb itself.

Most of those evacuated by the U.S. last week were members of the Peace Corps.  The Peace Corps website says it has about 120 volunteers in Burkina Faso.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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