According to eyewitness reports, a fire broke out in a makeshift gold panning facility in south-west Burkina Faso on Monday afternoon. The fire is said to have triggered the explosion of contraband sticks of dynamite.
59 people died, reports the French news agency AFP, citing state television in the West African country. More than 50 other people were injured and taken to hospital. According to hospital staff, some of them are also in mortal danger. Women and children are among the victims.
Wild gold mining is prohibited
According to a local resident, the area where the dynamite was stored also served as a market. The force of the explosion is said to have created a crater there, reports the French news agency AFP.
Wild gold mining is actually forbidden in the poor Sahel state. But the authorities in Burkina Faso do not manage to adequately control the laws. According to official figures, more than a million people work in illegal mining and gold has become the country's most important export commodity.