Employees at SEMAFO’s Boungou mine (above) have been the target of several attacks over the last few months. Credit: SEMAFO

A convoy transporting employees, contractors and suppliers between Fada and SEMAFO Inc.’s Boungou mine in Burkina Faso was attacked on Wednesday, November 6, leaving 37 dead and 60 wounded, according to the company. Five buses, escorted by military personnel, were ambushed about 40 kilometers from the mine.

President and CEO of SEMAFO Benoit Desormeaux said, “We are devastated by this unprecedented attack. Our sincerest sympathies go out to the families and colleagues of the victims. Our priority is their safety, security and well-being.”

He added that it will take the company some time to properly handle the incident and will support all those affected.

The Canadian-owned company said the Boungou mine site is secured, but operations have been suspended.

“We continue to actively work with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety, security and well-being of our employees, contractors and suppliers,” the company said.

This is not the first incident near the mine site. Back in August, there were two armed attacks. On August 17, a bus was shot at by armed bandits, leaving one employee and one subcontractor dead. Another incident occurred on August 15 that left five gendarmes and one subcontractor dead.

Since those two fatal incidents, the company said it was updating its security measures. It added a ground military force, transported employees via helicopter to the mine and reinforced escorts of employees to and from the mine.