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Ambush on mining company convoy kills 37 in Burkina Faso

Ambush on mining company convoy kills 37 in Burkina Faso

Ambush on Montreal-based Semafo mining company convoy killed 37 in Burkina Faso. As The National reported, the region’s governor gave the provisional toll in the official statement.

Boungou mine site located in Eastern region of Burkina Faso became a violence place on Wednesday. The masked gunmen attacked a convoy near a Canadian Semafo mining site, killing at least 37 people and injuring dozens.

As the regional governor Col. Saidou Sanou said late Wednesday, the death toll is provisional so far. The violence underscores the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso, which has been infiltrated by jihadists who have been active for years in neighbouring Mali.

In fact, Burkina Faso has faced its first powerful extremist attack in 2015, is a gateway south into coastal West Africa, and regional leaders worry the extremists could be moving into Togo and Benin.

The mining site belongs to the Montreal-based company Semafo said the violence took place about 40 km from its Boungou Mine in Burkina Faso’s Eastern region. Five buses of employees were being accompanied by a military escort, however, that measure didn’t stop the gunmen.

Eastern region’s governor made an official statement on Wednesday night, confirming the death of at least 37 people and saying Semafo only said that it was aware of “several fatalities and injuries.”

“Boungou mine site remains secured and our operations are not affected,” Canadian-based company said in its statement. “We are actively working with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our employees, contractors and suppliers.”

The area has become increasingly precarious for Semafo, which operates two gold mines in Burkina Faso. That is not the first incident with a foreign employee, according to the Canadian news agencies. In 2018, an employee and subcontractor died after a bus was targeted by local militias.

On Wednesday, there was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion fell on Islamic extremists, who have launched scores of attacks on churches and public officials across the north of Burkina Faso the last few years.

Concerted military actions by five regional countries, along with a French operation, have failed to stem the growing violence in once-peaceful Burkina Faso.