China’s embassy in the Central African Republic (CAR) has warned its citizens not to travel outside the capital, Bangui, a day after armed men killed nine Chinese nationals in an attack on a mine 25km from the town of Bambari.
On Sunday (19 March), several gunmen stormed a Chinese-operated gold mining site that had recently been launched in CAR, killing nine Chinese nationals and wounding two others, authorities said. However, the rebel coalition initially blamed by some for the attack issued a statement later in the day and instead accused Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group of being behind the violence. This latest attack came just days after gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals in the country’s west near the border with Cameroon, prompting the country’s President Faustin Archange Touadera to plan a trip to China in a bid to reassure investors.
China’s embassy in Bangui said in a statement there had been many “vicious” security incidents against workers of foreign mining enterprises in the area, and Chinese citizens still outside Bangui were requested to evacuate immediately. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “severe punishment” for the perpetrators in accordance with the law and said Chinese citizens’ safety must be ensured, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday (20 March). Local residents have reportedly been complaining for some time that the CAR government is having difficulty proving its capacity to protect not only Central Africans but also foreigners living in the country.