Dozens of people have reportedly been killed and injured after a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian-owned mine was attacked in eastern Burkina Faso.
The convoy, escorted by military personnel, was comprised of five buses transporting national employees, contractors and suppliers of the Mining Exploration Society in West Africa (SEMAFO), the gold mining company said in a statement Wednesday.
Citing authorities, Reuters and The Canadian Press reported that the attack claimed 37 lives. More than 60 people were injured, the outlets reported.
Global Affairs Canada condemned the attack in an emailed statement to Global News.
“To date, we have no reports of any Canadian citizens being affected,” it read. “Canada stands in solidarity with the Burkinabè people and supports Burkina Faso’s efforts to consolidate peace and stability and in its fight against terrorism.”
The company did not specifically say how many people were hurt or injured during the attack or their nationalities, but said they would continue to update the public as more details arise.
Burkina Faso has seen a rise in attacks in 2019 as groups with links to Islamic State and al-Qaeda have expanded their influence across the borders of the Sahel, the arid scrubland south of the Sahara, taking a number of Canadian hostages.
This attack marks the fourth in 15 months, including an attack in December that resulted in five deaths and another on Aug. 13, 2018 that resulted in six. Following multiple attacks in August, the company said it would be “increasing its security measures.”
The company said the incident happened approximately 40 km from the Boungou Mine site but its operations have not been affected by the attack.
“The company would like to express its sincere sympathy to families of the victims,” it said in a statement.
With files from Reuters and Kerri Breen