Burkina Faso: 37 people killed as gunmen ambush mining firm convoy

Semafo Boungou mine pit Burkina Faso attack

Authorities in Burkina Faso must "do everything in their power" to bring to justice the perpetrators of an attack on a mining company convoy in the West African nation on Wednesday, which killed dozens and left scores more injured, the UN chief said on Thursday.

The attack took place between Semafo's Fada and Boungou mine sites, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Boungou, according to a statement by the company.

The President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, called for the general mobilisation of volunteers in areas under terrorist threat, following the terrorist attack on miners that killed 38 people.

The Burkinabe leader said that "only a general mobilisation of the nation's sons and daughters, regardless of region, ethnicity, political opinion and religious denomination, is capable of defeating these lawless murderers who dream of submitting our country and our courageous people to their Machiavellian diktat".

Two separate attacks on convoys carrying Boungou mine employees in August and December a year ago killed 11 people.

Five buses were being escorted by the military when they were ambushed leading to several fatalities and injuries, the company said.

Burkina Faso's northern provinces have been battling a almost five-year wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali. But two security sources said dozens may still be unaccounted for.

Semafo has said the mine site is secured, but it has suspended operations there.

Nearly 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's ambush but the high death toll and targeting of a foreign company's employees suggest that well-armed jihadists carried out the assault.

Burkina Faso was largely stable until Islamist insurgencies in neighbouring 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.

According to UN figures, in a span of three weeks, the number of displaced in Burkina Faso has increased by almost 70 percent, around half a million people, in a nation of 20 million.

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