Several dead in attack on Canadian miner Semafo convoy in Burkina Faso

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Canadian gold miner Semafo said on Wednesday that several people had been killed when a convoy transporting some of its workers was attacked on a road in eastern Burkina Faso.

This is the third deadly attack suffered by Semafo in 15 months, with two occurring in August last year also targeting vehicles in transit between Semafo’s mines.

A regional security source said this latest attack was serious, and to expect multiple deaths.

The attack took place on the road between Semafo’s Fada and Boungou mine sites, about 40 kilometers from Boungou, the company said in a statement. In December a police vehicle was attacked on the same road, resulting in five deaths.

“Information currently has several fatalities and injuries,” the company said, adding it would issue a further statement when details are known. The convoy of five buses transporting Semafo employees was escorted by military personnel.

The Boungou mine is secure and operations are not affected, Semafo said in the statement.

Semafo’s Toronto-listed shares hit a nine-month low after the news and were trading down 11% at 1628 GMT.

When contacted by Reuters, a Semafo spokeswoman said: “At this point, we do not have full information and are not in a position to add to this morning’s release.”

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After last year’s attacks, which Semafo said were perpetrated by “armed bandits”, the company reinforced its escorts and decided to transport all expatriate employees by helicopter between the Boungou mine and Ouagadougou.

Once a pocket of relative calm in the Sahel, Burkina has suffered a homegrown insurgency for the past three years, which has been amplified by a spillover of jihadist violence and criminality from its chaotic neighbor Mali.

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