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Canadian Miner Targeted in Burkina Faso Attack; 38 Killed
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Canadian Miner Targeted in Burkina Faso Attack; 38 Killed
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterUnidentified assailants attacked a convoy transporting workers of Canadian gold producer Semafo Inc. in Burkina Faso, killing at least 38 people, the government said.The deaths come as West African governments battle a widening insurgency by Islamist militants and at a time when gold producers and prospectors are pouring money into the region as prices rally. The conflict has displaced more than half a million people in Burkina Faso, according to the United Nations, and led to increasing discontent with how President Roch Marc Christian Kabore’s government is handling the situation.Five buses transporting employees, contractors and suppliers were ambushed Wednesday on a road between the eastern town of Fada and Semafo’s Boungou mine, the Montreal-based company said in a statement. The incident happened about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the Boungou site and the mine’s operations are unaffected, it said.The convoy was hit by a “complex attack,” in which 33 people were wounded, Burkina Faso’s government spokesman said by phone, revising down an earlier injury toll of 60. The state will provide further details later on Thursday, while Semafo said it will issue an update “when complete details are known.”Semafo’s stock closed down 11% at C$3.49 in Toronto on Wednesday, the biggest drop since April 2017. Shares in Australia’s Perenti Global Ltd. slumped by a similar margin after it said members of its workforce in Burkina Faso were involved in the incident.The attack is the third related to Semafo in the past 15 months, after two incidents last year left at least seven people dead.No one claimed responsibility for the assault, but Islamist insurgents and militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have carried out several attacks on security forces and civilians in West Africa in the past five years, killing almost 700 people.Burkina Faso was largely stable until Islamist insurgencies in neighboring Mali came under increasing pressure from French and Malian counter-terrorism troops, resulting in cross-border raids and the spread of violence in some of the nation’s poorest provinces.(Updates number of injuries in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Victoria Batchelor.To contact the reporters on this story: Simon Gongo in Ouagadougou at sgongo@bloomberg.net;Katarina Hoije in Abidjan at khoije@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net, Ekow DontohFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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