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Burkina forces move to secure attacked Avesoro mine after 1 killed

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By Thiam Ndiaga

OUAGADOUGOU, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Security forces in Burkina Faso have sealed off an Avesoro gold mine after a security guard killed an intruder and local people attacked the site in retaliation, security sources said on Friday.

The Youga gold mine, in the south of the country, was shut down following the incident on Thursday, three employees told Reuters. Local and foreign staff have fled the site, they said.

"A security guard in the Youga mine...opened fire on an outsider to the mine, killing them. Following this incident, the population retaliated, injuring several people and causing significant material damage," a government statement said on Thursday.

On Thursday, mine owner Avesoro Resources said an armed group of artisanal miners had attacked the site, but that mining and processing had continued throughout the incident in the early hours of Thursday. It did not mention the man who was killed. The victim was an artisanal gold miner from a nearby village, two workers at the Avesoro mine told Reuters, declining to be named for fear of reprisals. That prompted residents to burn buildings and vehicles and injuring an unknown number of people.

No staff were seriously injured and the material damage was superficial, the company said in its statement on Thursday.

However, all witnesses intervied said mining operations had halted because the workers had all fled and had not yet come back.

(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga Writing by Anna Pujol-Mazzini Editing by Tim Cocks)

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