“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, some reports say.
The SEMAFO convoy was attacked by unidentified gunmen some 40km from one of its mines in the Est region despite an escort by local security forces. The total number of casualties is not yet known.
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.”
“Semafo said in a statement earlier that the attack on a convoy of five buses with military escort took place on the road to its Boungou mine in the eastern region of Est, about 40km (25 miles) from Boungou, and that there were several fatalities and injuries.
The Est governor’s office later gave more details, saying “unidentified armed men laid an ambush for a convoy transporting Semafo workers”, giving a provisional civilian death toll of 37 with over 60 wounded.
That toll does not include an unknown number of the security forces who may have been killed in the attack. The toll was likely to rise as there are a large number of people still unaccounted for, according to a security source.
Two security sources said the military vehicle leading the convoy was struck by an IED on a stretch of road where there is no cellphone network.
Shortly after the initial explosion, an unknown number of gunmen opened fire. One of the sources said it appeared that they targeted the buses as well as the military escort, which was unusual.”
“Burkina Faso: French: is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) and is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20,321,378. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as the official language of government and business. Roughly 40% of the population speaks the Mossi language. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé.