About 60 people were killed and dozens injured Monday in an explosion at an unofficial gold mining site in southwestern Burkina Faso, state TV, citing local officials, reported.
Local officials and hospital staff said the explosion occurred at a temporary gold-mining site in Gomjumberoen, in the southwest of the country, when a stockpile of dynamite exploded.
Pictures showed a huge explosion of felled trees and destroyed tin houses. The bodies were lying on the ground covered with mats.
A hospital source said: “At least five injured people died of their injuries, bringing the death toll to 55,” adding that the toll may rise because some of the injured are in critical condition.
The source said that among the 60 or so women and children who were injured in the blast, many of them are in critical condition
It was not clear exactly what type of gold mining took place at the site, since in Burkina Fasua there are some major gold mines operated by international companies, but also hundreds of smaller informal sites that operate without oversight or regulation.
Children often work in the 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 the Islamic State seeking to take over mining sites as a way to fund their violent attacks.
Monday’s explosion occurred hundreds of miles from where these groups usually operate and there was no indication that Islamist militants were involved.
(France 24 with Agence France-Presse and Reuters)