| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Eight people suffocate at Burkina Faso mine after police fire tear gas

A prosecutor claimed on Thursday that eight people died when police in Burkina Faso fired tear gas against unlicensed gold miners at Nordgold’s Bissa mine.

On Wednesday, over 40 people were present when police used tear gas, causing “panic and suffocation of the clandestine gold miners,” according to National Prosecutor Wendyam Lambert Sanfo.

Sanfo said charges for involuntary homicide would be brought in the case but did not specify against whom. Four people were also arrested on charges of burning 10 vehicles on the site.

The police said in a statement on Monday that they had discovered the bodies of six miners at the mine but did not mention firing tear gas.

Nordgold, a Russia-focused miner majority owned by Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov and his sons, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Burkina Faso and neighboring West African countries have experienced a gold rush in recent years as informal miners, starved of other well-paying economic opportunities, dig for ore in often dangerous conditions.

  • Reuters