Semafo suspends Boungou mine after attack that left 37 dead, 60 wounded

The SEMAFO company logo is seen in this file image.

Montreal-based gold miner Semafo Inc. says it has suspended operations at its Boungou mine in Burkina Faso a day after 37 people were killed and 60 wounded in an ambush on their way to the site.

Company president and CEO Benoit Desormeaux says the company is "devastated by this unprecedented attack" and extends sympathies to the families and colleagues of the victims.

A convoy of employees, contractors and suppliers in five buses, escorted by military personnel, were attacked about 40 kilometres from the Boungou mine by unidentified gunmen.

Semafo says the mine site in the West African country remains secured, but has suspended operations out of respect to the victims and to ensure operational safety.

In August 2018, a Semafo employee and a subcontractor were killed when a bus carrying workers was targeted by bandits, and five police officers were killed in another attack a few days earlier.

In response to the two armed incidents, Semafo announced all expatriate employees would be transported by helicopter between the mine and the country's capital Ouagadougou.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.