A convoy of buses carrying employees and contractors of a Canadian gold mining firm and its military escort fell victim to an armed ambush in eastern Burkina Faso, leaving upwards of 37 dead and 60 injured, local authorities say.
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. While the company has not provided the tally of casualties, saying only that there have been “several fatalities and injuries,” regional governor Lieutenant-Colonel Saïdou T.P. Sanouhas confirmed that 37 people died and another 60 have been injured in the attack.
There is no danger to the mine itself at the moment, the company has said meanwhile.
“Bongou mine site remains secured and our operations are not affected. We are actively working with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our employees, contractors and suppliers.”
The Canadian government has denounced the attack in the West African country.
“Canada condemns today’s attack against a convoy of workers of the Canadian mining company SEMAFO, which also targeted security forces protecting them,” Angela Savard, spokesperson for Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, told CBC News.
It is unclear if there are Canadian nationals among the victims, with Savard saying that there were “no reports” that Canadians were hurt in the ambush.
A SEMAFO convoy was attacked in August 2018 not far from the same mine.