A dozen people, including women, were shot at by an Burkinabe army escort unit, according to multiple sources.The Defense and Security Forces (FDS) unit was escorting a convoy from the Boungou mine when it opened fire on civilians in the village of Sakoani in the east of the country, several sources said.
The circumstances of the tragedy have not yet been clarified, but the death toll is at least 12, including three women and a baby, sources said.
The security units of the convoys of the Canadian gold producer Semafo are regularly accused of abuses by human rights organisations.
”Each time the escort passes by the gold mine of Boungou it leaves anguish in its wake. Some may be suspected of complicity with jihadist groups, but it is impossible to believe that everyone is a fake and without warning, self-denial is imposed on each escort,” said a local resident who requested anonymity.
A convoy of mine workers had suffered a terrorist attack on November 6, 2019.
At least 38 people were killed and the gold mine’s activities were halted before resuming in February 2020.
In November, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) referred allegations of abuses committed by the 14th Inter-Army Regiment against civilians in the Northern Province of Soum to the Burkinabe authorities.
At the time, the government denied these allegations.
In January, the Collective against Impunity and Stigmatization of Communities (CISC) accused Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP) of killing some 30 civilians in Nouna, a town in the Boucle de Mouhoun.
The government announced an investigation to clarify the matter.