Nov. 7 (UPI) — Unidentified assailants attacked a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian gold mining company in Burkina Faso, killing 37 people and injuring 60 others, officials said.
The attack occurred Wednesday on a road between Fada and Semafo’s Boungou Mine, the Montreal-based company said in a statement.
The five-bus convoy transporting Semafo national employees, contractors and suppliers was escorted by military personnel when it was attacked some 25 miles from the gold mine, it said.
Lt. Col. Saidou T.P. Sanou, the governor of the country’s eastern region, described the attack as an “ambush.”
“The governor firmly condemns this barbaric and cowardly attack,” he said in a statement.
Semafo said the mine remains secured and operations were unaffected and it’s working with authorities to ensure the safety of its employees and contractors.
“The company would like to express its sincere sympathy to families of the victims in addition to its firm support of Burkina Faso’s security forces,” Semafo said.
The Embassy of Canada to Burkina Faso condemned the attack.
“Canada condemns today’s terrorist attack against a convoy of Burkinabe workers of the Canadian mining company Semafo,” the embassy said via Twitter. “We offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims.”
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.
Nearly 500,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence with nearly 270,000 displaced in the past three months, the U.N. reported last month, adding that since last year, more than 500 people have been killed in 472 attacks throughout the country.