Death toll on gold-mine convoy in Burkina rises to six

By: AFP      Published: 12:12 AM, 14 Sep, 2021
Death toll on gold-mine convoy in Burkina rises to six

Burkina Faso on Monday raised to six the death toll from a weekend ambush of a convoy of gendarmes escorting fuel tankers to a gold mine owned by Toronto-listed Endeavour Mining.

A number of officers had also been missing, but on Monday evening, two of those had been found dead, the gendarmerie said. Seven people were wounded, and two remained missing after what the regional government in eastern Burkina Faso said was an attack by suspected jihadists.

The poor West African nation -- which received $1 million in taxes from Endeavour in the first three months of this year -- has been plagued by deadly jihadist attacks since 2015, often targeting gold mine workers. 

In November 2019, an attack in Boungou -- where Endeavour's mine is sited -- left at least 38 people dead. 

On Sunday, a convoy of fuel tankers, "fell into an ambush" near the border with Niger, said a statement signed by the secretary general of the governorate of the eastern region, Amidou Sore.  

According to a local source, there was a seventh victim, "a civilian, probably a member of the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland", civilian auxiliaries fighting alongside the army. 

"The attackers planted explosive devices on the road before opening fire on the convoy," said another security source.  

Such attacks, attributed to jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda, have killed more than 1,500 people and forced more than 1.3 million to flee their homes. 

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