On 06 November 2019, during the morning, on the way between Fada and Boungou, Gnagna Province, around 40km away from the Boungou Gold Mine, operated by the Canadian company SEMAFO, a convoy carrying SEMAFO employees was attacked by unidentified militants. The attack was initiated when a roadside IED functioned against the lead vehicle of the convoy, followed by small arms fire from the militants. Unusually, militants reportedly targeted both the military escort and the busses carrying civilian employees.
Thirty-seven people were killed and sixty others injured in one of the deadliest incidents of Burkina Faso’s recent security crisis. Of those killed, at least 19 were employees of Perenti Global, an Australian mining company contracted by SEMAFO, while two others were working of Geodrill Limited, another contractor headquartered in the Isle of Man.
In total, more than 200 people were travelling in five busses and seven 4x4 light vehicles in the convoy, all Burkinabe nationals. The attack has not been claimed by any group, but ISGS and JNIM are known to be active in the area. SEMAFO has suspended operations in the Boungou site for an unspecified interim period, although the company maintains that the site itself is safe. In a response to the incident, Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré called for mass mobilisation and enlistment of volunteers to aid security forces in embattled regions, while the ruling party, Kaboré’s People's Movement for Progress, endorsed more active involvement from local self-defence militias.
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