OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Dozens of individuals had been feared nonetheless missing on Thursday after an ambush on employees near a Canadian-owned mine in Burkina Faso killed a minimum of 37, the worst such assault for years in a rustic suffering from jihadist violence.
Quebec-based gold miner Semafo (SMF.TO) stated 5 of its buses with a navy escort got here beneath fireplace on the highway resulting in its Boungou mine in the japanese area of Est, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Boungou, on Wednesday.
Sixty different individuals had been wounded, authorities stated.
The assailants’ identification was unclear, however Burkina Faso is struggling to fight surging Islamist violence in distant japanese and northern scrubland areas of the West African state.
“Once more our people are in mourning because of terrorist groups that are multiplying, murderous actions against our civilians and our defense and security forces,” President Roch Marc Kabore stated in a televised tackle.
Semafo stated the Boungou mine web site remained secured, though it has suspended operations following the assault.
It was unclear precisely how many individuals had been in the convoy, what their nationalities had been or what number of had been missing. But two safety sources stated dozens should still be unaccounted for.
One miner was shot in the leg however survived as a result of the our bodies of different victims fell on high of him, shielding him from the hail of bullets, his brother Benjamin Compaore stated.
Map of Burkina Faso assault on mine employees: – right here
“There were more and more shots and then because the others were on top and he was underneath, God protected him,” he stated, talking outdoors the Ouagadougou hospital the place the wounded had been being handled and distraught members of the family gathered.
Some questioned why the authorities had not but supplied a full casualty listing.
Theodore Silga stated his youthful brother Gilbert, 26, had been on one of many ambushed buses. “The people working with my brother said they have not heard from him.”
Semafo has stated that beneath new security tips, Burkinabe workers journey to and from the mine with a navy escort by highway whereas worldwide employees are flown by helicopter.
Two separate sources, who’ve labored on the mine, stated the convoy left weekly carrying about 250 employees, normally in 5 buses of 50-60 individuals every.
The firm tightened safety final yr following assaults that killed three employees and 5 safety officers.
Canada’s international ministry stated there have been no stories up to now of any of its nationals being victims of the assault, the worst in Burkina Faso since teams with hyperlinks to Islamic State and al Qaeda started concentrating on it in January 2016. Then, al Qaeda militants killed 32 individuals in a raid on a well-liked cafe and lodge in Ouagadougou.
Writing by Edward McAllister and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne/Mark Heinrich and Grant McCool
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