Explosive device kills two gold miners in Niger, sources say

NIAMEY, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Two employees at an industrial gold mine in western Niger were killed on Friday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, three security sources said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosion. It took place at the Samira mine near Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, a zone where Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State frequently carry out attacks.

Samira’s owner, state mining company SOPAMIN, and Niger’s government could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mines in West Africa’s Sahel region have been forced to contend in recent years with deteriorating security conditions, including a militant attack last year on employees of a Canadian-owned gold mine in Burkina Faso that killed 39 people. (Reporting by Moussa Aksar; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Jon Boyle)