Five people, four of them police, were killed in a roadside bomb and gun attack in Burkina Faso, the defense ministry and security sources said on Saturday, December 1.
The attack was carried out at 3 p.m. on Friday, near the East Region town of Boungou, in an area that has seen an upswing in violence in recent months.
The lead vehicle in a gendarmerie convoy that was returning from an escort mission was struck by an improvised roadside bomb, and the rest of the convoy was then attacked by automatic gunfire, the ministry of defense said in a Saturday statement.
Four gendarmes and a civilian driver were killed, the ministry said.
A source confirmed the incident and the toll to AFP, saying that the police team was escorting workers employed at a local gold mine.
It is unclear who carried out the attack.
In August, six people, five of them police, were killed in a bomb and gun attack near Boungou gold mine. That attack also occurred when a convoy was returning from an escort mission. The mine was due to begin commercial gold production that month, and Canadian mining company SEMAFO said it would increase security measures
One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso has been battling an escalating wave of attacks over the last three years, beginning in the North region near the border with Mali. Attacks have spread to the East region, near the border with Togo, Benin and Niger.
A recent surge in attacks in the east is said by some analysts to be the result of pressure on jihadist insurgents in neighboring Mali and Niger.
According to AFP, around 40 members of Burkina’s security forces have been killed in roadside bomb attacks in recent months.
President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré said in September that additional security measures would be unveiled to “resume the initiative” throughout Burkina Faso “to eradicate the curse of terrorism.” Security forces have detained hundreds of people in connection with attacks in recent months.
In September, Burkina Faso’s armed forces conducted air strikes and clearance operations in the Pama and Gayeri areas in the East Region. The military said “terrorist bases” were destroyed in the operations.
In early October, the French armed forces confirmed that helicopters were used in operations in the East Region, only the second time that French aerial forces had been used in Burkina Faso.
Four days earlier, a gendarme was killed and another injured in a complex attack on a security post at the Inata gold mine in Soum province in the north of the country. A French Reaper drone was sent to the area and two French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft later struck a convoy of ‘terrorists’ on motorcycles nearby.
With reporting from AFP