The U.S. Defense Department is restricting travel by American soldiers to Ghana and four other West African nations.
The department has issued orders limiting unofficial travel by military personnel to Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast and Guinea.
“It’s just increased vigilance given the recent events that have happened in that area of the world,” a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, says.
Nineteen people were killed on Sunday at a beach resort in Ivory Coast, an attack claimed by al Qaeda’s North African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The group is also believed to have been behind an attack on a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, in which 29 people were killed two months ago. In November, militants from the group also laid siege to a hotel in Mali, killing 21 people.
The travel restriction order for U.S. military personnel to Ghana and the other West African nations will be in effect until June 30. It does not restrict official travel to the countries involved.
“Given the recent attacks in western Africa, we felt it prudent to make this decision at this time in an effort to ensure the safety of our personnel,” a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza says.
U.S. Africa Command has between 1,000 and 1,200 forces on the continent.