Eleven people have been killed in an attack on a gold mine in northern Burkina Faso, two days after a similar raid in the same area, local sources said on Sunday.
“Armed unidentified individuals carried out an attack on the gold mining site of Baliata on Saturday,” a resident of the region told AFP.
“At least 11 people were killed by the attackers, who ordered the miners to get out of the area,” he said.
“There were about 30 attackers. They arrived by motor scooter. They fired on people indiscriminately,” another local told AFP.
He said “a dozen” people had been killed. “There were people wounded too. They were taken to Gorom-Gorom town for treatment.”
Baliata is located on the road linking Gorom-Gorom to Dori, capital of the country’s Sahel region.
Last Thursday, at least 10 miners died in an attack on an illegal gold mine in Tondobi, between Dori and the border with Niger. The attackers were suspected jihadists, a security source said.
Despite a ban on unofficial gold mining, which regularly triggers fatal landslides, the authorities in Burkina struggle to control sites that provide work for an estimated 1.2 million people.
An accidental dynamite explosion at an illegal gold mine in the southwest of the country left more than 60 people dead in February.
Legal mining produces about 70 tonnes of gold a year, making it Burkina’s biggest export, and generates 50,000 jobs, according to official figures.
The mining ministry says unauthorised mines produce 10 tonnes of gold a year.
Like neighbouring Mali and Niger, Burkina has been battling a jihadist insurgency since 2015. The violence has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced 1.7 million in Burkina, according to an AFP tally.
Islamist combatants affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group operate mainly in the north and east of Burkina, targeting civilians and troops.
A junta seized power in Ouagadougou on January 24 and has made tackling the insurgency a priority. Ousted president Roch Marc Christian Kabore was unable to contain the insurgency.