Am­bush on min­ing com­pany con­voy kills 37 in Burk­ina Faso

The National - News - - NEWS -

Gun­men at­tacked a con­voy near a Cana­dian min­ing site in Burk­ina Faso, killing at least 37 peo­ple and wound­ing 60 oth­ers, the re­gional gov­er­nor said on Wed­nes­day.

Mon­treal-based Se­mafo said the in­ci­dent oc­curred about 40 kilo­me­tres from its Boun­gou mine in Burk­ina Faso’s eastern re­gion as five buses of em­ploy­ees were be­ing ac­com­pa­nied by a mil­i­tary es­cort.

Col Saidou Sanou, the re­gion’s gov­er­nor, an­nounced the pro­vi­sional toll, while the min­ing com­pany said only that it was aware of “sev­eral fa­tal­i­ties and in­juries”.

“The Boun­gou mine site re­mains se­cured and our op­er­a­tions are not af­fected,” Se­mafo said. “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. Last year, an em­ployee and sub­con­trac­tor died af­ter a bus was hit by ban­dits, Cana­dian Press re­ported.

Later that year five mem­bers of Burk­ina Faso’s se­cu­rity forces were killed af­ter be­ing at­tacked near the Boun­gou mine.

The vi­o­lence un­der­scores the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Burk­ina Faso, which has been in­fil­trated by ex­trem­ists who have been ac­tive for years in neigh­bour­ing Mali.

There was no im­me­di­ate claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the con­voy at­tack but sus­pi­cion fell on mil­i­tants who have launched scores of at­tacks on churches and pub­lic of­fi­cials across the north of Burk­ina Faso in the past 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.

The coun­try, which ex­pe­ri­enced its first ma­jor 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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.