Burkina Faso leader expresses shock after attack kills 37

A general view of Canadian miner Semafo's Boungou mine in Burkina

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.

A security source said "a military vehicle that was escorting the convoy hit an explosive device".

"Bongou mine web site stays secured and our operations aren't affected".

After last year's incidents, which Semafo said were the work of "armed bandits", the company reinforced its escorts and made a decision to transport all expatriate employees by helicopter between the Boungou mine and Ouagadougou.

Perenti confirmed in a statement that there were a number of fatalities and injuries as a result of the incident.

The company ramped up its security past year after attacks near its two mines in the West African country.

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Last month, 20 people were killed in an attack on a gold-mining site in the north. And in August of past year, Semafo said that a bus headed to the company's other mine was held up by criminals and that gunfire was exchanged.

The assailants' identity was unclear, but Burkina Faso is struggling to combat surging Islamist violence in the remote eastern and northern scrubland areas.

The company blamed "armed bandits" for remaining twelve months's attacks, and therefore strengthened its armed escorts.

The country's northern provinces have been battling a four-year-old wave of jihadist violence that came from neighboring Mali. Attacks are usually attributed to groups affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, GardaWorld said.

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

No one claimed responsibility for the assault, but Islamist insurgents and militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have carried out several attacks on security forces and civilians in West Africa in the past five years, killing nearly 700 people.

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