Kaboré calls for 'mobilization' with at least 38 dead in attack

Semafo Boungou mine pit Burkina Faso attack

Burkina Faso's president vowed Thursday that security forces will hunt down "terrorists and all their accomplices", a day after at least 37 people were killed in the West African nation when gunmen attacked a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company.

Semafo had tightened security previous year following attacks that killed three workers and five security officials. It took place when five buses Escorted by the Burkina Faso military, they traveled to the Boungou mine in Semafo, an open-pit gold mine in the eastern part of the country, some 40 kilometers away.

It remains unclear how many people were in the convoy, what their nationalities were or how many were missing.

Lt. Col. Saidou T.P. Sanou, the governor of the country's eastern region, described the attack as an "ambush".

Two security sources told Reuters that dozens may still be unaccounted for.

The company blamed "armed bandits" for last year's attacks, and subsequently reinforced its armed escorts.

Burkina Faso's northern provinces have been battling a almost five-year wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks - typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings - have claimed almost 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Nearly 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

Wednesday's attack was the worst since groups with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda began targeting the landlocked nation with high-profile attacks in January 2016.

The ambush underscores the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso, which observers say has increasingly become a refuge for jihadis from neighboring Mali and Niger.

Reports indicate that hundreds of people have been killed so far this year and more than 150,000 have fled their homes due to attacks across the Sahel region.

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