- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:20 NZDT
- Still current at: 9 April 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Burkina Faso.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
There is a high threat of terrorism in Burkina Faso, particularly in border areas with Mali and Niger. In 2018, terrorist groups released a statement declaring their intention to target westerners and western companies. There have been multiple attacks in the capital and elsewhere in the country since 2016.
On 11 August 2018, a convoy returning from a Canadian owned mining site in the east of the country was attacked using a improvised explosive device and small arms fire, killing 5 police officers and 1 civilian.
On March 2, 2018, extremists attacked the French Embassy and Burkina Faso’s military headquarters in downtown Ouagadougou. Eight security force personnel, including soldiers and police officers were killed and over 80 others were injured.
On 13 August 2017, gunmen attacked the Aziz Istanbul restaurant in Ouagadougou, killing at least 18 people.
On 15 January 2016, armed gunmen attacked the Splendid Hotel and Café Cappuccino in Ouagadougou resulted in 30 deaths, a large number of whom were foreign nationals. Further attacks, including those targeting foreigners, cannot be ruled out.
New Zealanders throughout Burkina Faso are advised to maintain a high degree of security awareness at all times, particularly in public areas. Keep yourself informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local sources of information and follow the instructions of local authorities at all times.
There is a heightened threat of kidnapping in northern parts of Burkina Faso and near the borders with Mali and Niger. Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have stated their intention to kidnap foreigners and may cross the borders from Mali and Niger to carry out kidnappings.
A number of foreigners have previously been kidnapped in remote parts of West Africa. In September 2018, three foreign nationals were kidnapped in two separate incidents (in the far north, and near Burkina Faso’s southern border with Ghana). The threat is likely to continue. Kidnapping operations throughout Africa are primarily motivated by monetary gain.
New Zealanders in Burkina Faso are strongly advised to seek professional security advice or protection before travelling to areas of particular risk.
Political situation/Civil unrest
The political situation in Burkina Faso has stabilised since the presidential elections in late 2015, however, the security situation could deteriorate with little warning. Demonstrations occur regularly and have the potential to result in violence or clashes.
New Zealanders in Burkina Faso are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and large gatherings.
Banditry is a security concern in Burkina Faso. There continue to be reports of attacks by armed criminals on vehicles, including buses, travelling on a variety of main and secondary roads across the country. Criminals have used road blocks to stop and rob travellers and have been known to open fire on vehicles that refuse to stop. While bandits mainly steal valuables, they may physically harm victims during the course of a robbery.
The highest number of incidents occur in the eastern region but there have been a number of attacks in other regions and the threat exists throughout Burkina Faso. Remote and border regions are especially vulnerable.
New Zealanders in Burkina Faso are advised to travel in convoy if possible, stay on clearly marked roads and avoid travel by night outside major centres. You should seek local advice before setting out and follow a police patrol where possible.
Street crime is prevalent in Burkina Faso and foreigners may be specifically targeted due to their perceived wealth. Bag-snatchings, muggings and theft from hotel rooms are common in Ouagadougou. The central market and the area around the United Nations circle are often targeted by thieves.
Criminals in urban areas may carry knives in order to cut straps on bags and can become violent if the victim is non-compliant. Sexual assault occurs periodically in smaller towns and within Ouagadougou.
New Zealanders are advised to exercise particular vigilance in crowded or public areas, avoid showing signs of affluence and keep personal belongings secure at all times. Avoid walking alone at night, as risks increase after dark.
Commercial and internet fraud is a common problem in many African countries. New Zealanders in Burkina Faso should be wary of any offers that seem too good to be true, as they may be a scam. For further information see our advice on Internet Fraud and International Scams.
General Travel Advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Burkina Faso, the ability of the government to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens is extremely limited.
We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Burkina Faso should consider.
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Burkina Faso to avoid offending local sensitivities.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Burkina Faso should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Burkina Faso are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
See our regional advice for Africa