At least eight persons suffocated to death on Wednesday after police in Burkina Faso used tear gas against unauthorised gold miners at Nordgold’s Bissa mine.
National Prosecutor, Wendyam Lambert Sanfo said in a statement on Thursday that about 40 miners were on site on Wednesday when the police fired tear gas, which “caused panic and the suffocation of the clandestine gold miners”
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 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 neighbouring 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.
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