A day after the killing of 37 people and injuries to dozens of others in Burkina Faso, United Nations has asked authorities to “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 Secretary-General conveys his condolences to the families of the deceased, as well as to the people and Government of Burkina Faso and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured”, his Spokesperson told reporters in New York.
A Montreal-based mining company, Semafo, said five of its buses carrying workers, escorted by Burkina Faso military personnel, were attacked while traveling to an open-pit gold mine in the eastern part of the country, according to media reports.
(The company in its update from Montreal, Quebec on November 7, 2019 – SEMAFO Inc. (TSX, OMX: SMF) (“SEMAFO”) says: On yesterday’s attack on the public road between Fada and the Boungou Mine site in the East region of Burkina Faso. The incident happened approximately 40 kilometers from the Boungou Mine. The convoy, escorted by military personnel, comprised five buses transporting SEMAFO national employees, contractors and suppliers. Information from Burkina Faso authorities currently has 37 fatalities and 60 wounded.
Benoit Desormeaux, President, and CEO of SEMAFO states: “We are devastated by this unprecedented attack. Our sincerest sympathies go out to the families and colleagues of the victims. Our priority is their safety, security and well being. Given the scale of the attack, it will take some time to properly deal with it and we will do our utmost to support all those affected.”
Boungou mine site remains secure, but we have suspended operations out of respect to the victims and those impacted and to ensure the highest levels of operational safety. We continue to actively work with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety, security, and well-being of our employees, contractors, and suppliers. The Company would like to express again its sincere condolences to families of the victims in addition to its firm support of Burkina Faso’s security forces.)
The ambush represents one of the deadliest attacks in a recent spate of violence in the historically-calm landlocked nation, which has been infiltrated by jihadists, active for years in neighboring Mali.
Increased bloodshed has forced hundreds-of-thousands of people to flee their homes, igniting a fast-growing humanitarian crisis.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s incident, which has called a “heinous act” against the country’s people.
During a Security Council meeting on peace in Africa last month, Mr. Guterres declared that the sprawl of terrorist networks is a growing, transnational threat to the continent, with a pervasive climate crisis exacerbating violence, and straining resources. Extremist groups have exploited existing divides within rival pastoralist communities, already competing for access to limited natural resources.
In a span of just three weeks, the number of displaced in Burkina Faso has increased by nearly 70 percent, around half a million people, in a nation of 20 million, according to UN figures.
Reiterating the UN’s commitment to supporting nation, engulfed by violence, the Secretary-General highlighted “the full support of the United Nations to the Government of Burkina Faso in its continuing efforts to ensure peace and stability in the country.”