Around 20 people were killed in an attack near a gold mining site in northern Burkina Faso’s violence-plagued Soum province, security sources told AFP on Saturday.
“Armed individuals attacked the gold mining site at Dolmané … leaving around 20 dead, mainly gold miners,” one security source said.
Another security source confirmed the Friday attack, adding that a number of people had been injured, without giving further details.
Citing local sources, Infowakat reported the took place at around 6 p.m. on Friday and targeted the “Dolmané” gold mining site in the village of Madoudji in Arbinda département.
One of the poorest countries in the world, former French colony Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the sprawling, impoverished Sahel, on the southern rim of the Sahara desert.
The country has been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning in the North Region near the border with Mali. Attacks have spread to the East Region, near the border with Togo, Benin and Niger, and to a lesser extent, the west of the country.
In September, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that nearly 289,000 people who have been displaced Burkina Faso were living in shelters, and the International Committee of the Red Cross warned about malnutrition and famine, saying that 1.2 million people were facing food insecurity.
Most attacks are attributed to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but also to Ansar ul Islam, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to Islamic State-affiliated groups.
Since May, Islamic State has attributed insurgent activities in the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area to its West Africa Province affiliate, rather than to what was previously known as Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. In a June 15 ISIS propaganda video, ISWAP militants purportedly in Burkina Faso were shown reaffirming their pledge of allegiance to ISIS.
With reporting from AFP