Gold mining site blast kills 59 in Burkina Faso

Images showed a large blast site of felled trees and destroyed tin houses



Courtesy: Twitter
Courtesy: Twitter

By Agencies

Published: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 2:44 AM

A strong explosion near a gold mining site in southwestern Burkina Faso killed 59 people and injured more than 100 others on Monday, the national broadcaster and witnesses reported.

The provisional toll was provided by regional authorities following the blast in the village of Gbomblora, RTB reported. The explosion was believed to have been caused by chemicals used to treat gold that were stocked at the site. However, an official said the cause of the explosion in Poni province was not yet known.

Images showed a large blast site of felled trees and destroyed tin houses. Bodies lay on the ground, covered in mats.

It was not clear exactly what kind of gold mining went on at the site. Burkina Faso is home to some major gold mines run by international companies, but also to hundreds of smaller, informal sites that operate without oversight or regulation.

Children frequently work in these so-called artisanal mines; accidents are common.

Burkina Faso, one of the world’s least developed countries, is under attack from Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State who seek control of mining sites as a means to fund their violent attacks.

Monday’s blast was hundreds of miles from where these groups usually operate and there was no sign that Islamist militants were involved.

“I saw bodies everywhere. It was horrible,” Sansan Kambou, a forest ranger who was at the site during the explosion, told The Associated Press by phone.

The first blast happened around 2pm, with more explosions following as people ran for their lives, he said.


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