September 27, 2017 / 2:53 PM / 3 months ago

Attack on Avocet's convoy in Burkina Faso kills two

DAKAR, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Unknown attackers killed two paramilitary police officers and wounded two others in an assault on a convoy carrying fuel to the Inata gold mine in northern Burkina Faso, Avocet Mining Plc said on Wednesday.

The mining company said the gendarme escort appeared to be the target of the attack. It added it would review security measures and take measures to ensure the safety of the mine and its employees.

A government official in Burkina Faso reached by telephone confirmed the incident: “I received a summary of the attack which is far from being the first of its kind”. He declined to give further details.

There was no indication of who was responsible.

Burkina Faso, like other countries in West Africa, has been targeted sporadically by jihadist groups. Most attacks have been along its remote northern border with Mali, which has seen activity by Islamist militants for more than a decade.

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 18 people and wounded several during a raid on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital in August.

Shares in the company fell about 10.3 percent before trading down about 7 percent at 1340 GMT on the London stock exchange.

Avocet had said earlier this month that its unit, Societe des Mines de Belahouro (SMB), which operates the Inata gold mine, may file for insolvency after a loan repayment freeze with its creditors expired.

The company owns 90 percent of the Inata Gold Mine that produced 72,485 ounces of gold in 2016.

Avocet is struggling to keep the mine operating after former workers seized a shipment of gold last year. Its shares have dropped nearly 60 percent this year. (Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Dakar; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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