10/08/2022

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Burkina Faso: Soldier and civilian killed in gold mine attack

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A Burkinabe soldier and a civilian were killed Thursday morning in an attack on a gold mine by unidentified gunmen near Ouahigouya (north), security and local sources said.

“At around 4:30am (GMT and local time), several dozen armed individuals, probably terrorists, attacked the security base of the Karma gold mine, near Ouahigouya,” a security source told AFP.

“The provisional toll is one soldier killed and one civilian dead following the violent attack, which was repulsed by the security forces,” the source said, adding that five people were injured, two of them seriously, and evacuated to Ouahigouya hospital.

A worker, contacted by AFP, explained that the attack had lasted nearly an hour and that the workers had then been evacuated from the mine site to Ouahigouya.

The mine was sold in March by the Canadian company Endeavour Mining to the Burkinabe consortium Néré Mining for $25 million. In 2021, it produced 88,000 ounces of gold.

On Monday, another gold mine in Bongou (east) was targeted by shellfire. The day before, a soldier was wounded in an attack on a logistical convoy from this mine.

Burkina Faso, particularly the north and east, has been the target of recurrent jihadist attacks since 2015 by movements affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have left more than 2,000 dead and 1.8 million displaced.

In the face of insecurity, Russian gold producer Nordgold announced in April that it would halt operations at the Taparko gold mine, the country’s main private mine, located in northern Burkina.