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Peace Corps evacuates Burkina Faso volunteers

Posted September 4

— The Peace Corps has evacuated 124 volunteers from Burkina Faso due to security concerns, the United States embassy in Burkina Faso said.

"The Peace Corps has been closely monitoring the safety and security environment in Burkina Faso and will continue to assess the situation," it said in a statement Sunday. "The Peace Corps looks forward to a time when volunteers can return while underscoring that the safety and security of its volunteers are the agency's top priority."

The statement didn't specify a concern, but the evacuation comes following the second major terror attack in less than two years and as fears rise of further violence and kidnappings.

An Aug. 13 attack on a popular Turkish restaurant in the capital killed at least 19 people and wounded 21 others. Days later, three soldiers were killed by improvised explosive devices in the restive north where the extremist movement, Ansarul Islam, is targeting security forces and civilians. Local radicalized preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko began the movement, which has been declared a terrorist group by the government.

A January 2016 attack at another popular cafe in Ouagadougou killed 30 people.

Late in August, the U.S. embassy in Ouagadougou asked its citizens to be cautious while travelling in Burkina Faso.

More than 2,075 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Burkina Faso since the program was established in 1966.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

On Thursday a customs officer was killed by armed men in Djibasso in the country's west, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from its border with Mali.


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