Twenty people were killed on the night of Thursday March 31 to Friday 1er April in the attack on an artisanal gold mine in northern Burkina Faso. “Several dozen armed men on motorcycles attacked the Kougdiguin gold panning site” near Barga, a town in the rural commune of Bouroum, in Namentenga province, a local resident told AFP on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, we recorded around twenty deaths and as many injuries”, who were evacuated to the Regional Hospital Center (CHR) of Kaya, capital of the Center-North region where the attack occurred, he added. Another resident confirmed this assessment, speaking of twenty-two dead and specifying that the perpetrators of the attack “are armed individuals who opened fire on the miners without distinction”. “We record women and children among the victims”who were laid to rest on Friday, he said.
A hospital source from the CHR, joined by AFP, said he had received a dozen injured, but that others had been admitted to several other health centers. On March 12, eleven people were killed in the attack on an artisanal gold mine in Baliata, a locality located on the Dori axis, capital of the Sahel region, also in northern Burkina. Two days earlier, a similar attack had targeted a wild gold mine in Tondobi, a town in the municipality of Seytenga, near the Niger border, killing around ten people, according to security and local sources.
Nearly a hundred dead in three weeks
In total, for three weeks, nearly eighty civilians and soldiers have been killed in attacks attributed to armed jihadist groups. “The resurgence of terrorist attacks in recent times cannot and should not be read as a sign of inaction or ineffectiveness of what we are deploying on the ground”said Friday the interim president of Burkina Faso, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, author of a coup on January 24.
He announced the creation of local committees for dialogue with armed groups which will aim “to build bridges to allow those who through naivety, greed, coercion or desire for revenge have been drawn into an extremist spiral”.
Like its neighbors Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of violence attributed to armed jihadist movements, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which have left more than 2,000 dead and 1.8 million of displaced.