Jihadist attacks on gold miners in Burkina Faso could seriously set back the rising production of a mineral that is a strategic export for the government, warn experts in the sector.
Early this month, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore’s government called three days of national mourning after 38 people were massacred in a November 6 ambush on a convoy near the Boungou mine in eastern Burkina.
Kabore blamed “terrorists” for the deadliest such attack since a spiral of jihadist violence began in the deeply poor West African country five years ago, in parallel with a gold rush.
“The mines go on operating, but this is going to have repercussions on activity,” said a senior government official who asked not to be named. “A kind of psychosis is setting in.”
Gold mines in partly arid Sahel nations south of the Sahara have become a source of finance for jihadists and other armed movements in areas lacking in central authority, the International Crisis Group said in a new report.