Sunday, 23 February, 2020


Burkina Faso: 37 people killed as gunmen ambush mining firm convoy

People wounded in an ambush on a Canadian-owned mine were taken to hospital for treatment People wounded in an ambush on a Canadian-owned mine were taken to hospital for treatment Credit REUTERS Bado Vincent
Bennie Garza | 08 November, 2019, 11:09

"The Boungou mine site remains safe and our operations have not been affected", Semafo said in a statement.

"The convoy, escorted by military personnel, comprised five buses transporting SEMAFO national employees, contractors and suppliers", the company said in its statement.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore also called for volunteers "to defend the homeland in the areas under threat" following what is believed to be the deadliest attack in Burkina Faso since Islamic extremists became active in the country in 2015.

The attack comes amid a surge in violence in the country that has internally displaced hundreds of thousands of people over the past few months, sparking "an unprecedented humanitarian emergency", the U.N. Refugee Agency said.

"Our sincerest sympathies go out to the families and colleagues of the victims".

Sylvain Leclerc, spokeswoman for the Canadian foreign ministry, said there were no reports of any Canadian citizen among the casualties.

The company's share price was down more than five per cent in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange Thursday after closing down about 11 per cent the day before.

The Canadian government has denounced the attack in the West African country.

Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, was hit by extremist violence for the first time in January 2016.

Semafo is not the only Canadian mining company operating in Burkina Faso. Our priority is their safety, security and well being. The attack is the third such instance of violence against the company in the country after an employee and subcontractor were killed in another convoy attack back in August 2018, while five others died in another attack in December.

The SEMAFO convoy was attacked by unidentified gunmen some 40km from one of its mines in the Est region, despite having an escort of local security forces.

The incident happened approximately 40 kilometers from the Boungou Mine.

-With files from AP.

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