BEIJING – China claims five of its citizens were kidnapped from a mining operation in eastern Congo.
The Chinese embassy in Kinshasa posted on the WeChat online messaging service that the five men were abducted Sunday morning from the site in South Kivu province, bordering Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
He called on all Chinese citizens to leave South Kivu and the neighboring provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, saying the security situation in the region was “extremely complex and grim” and that there was little possibility of providing assistance in the event of an attack or kidnapping.
No details were given on those abducted, for whom they worked or who was suspected of having taken them.
“All Chinese citizens and Chinese-owned enterprises in Congo should pay close attention to local conditions, increase their security awareness and emergency preparedness, and avoid unnecessary travel outside,” said the embassy.
On Saturday, a Congolese ranger in the conservation park was killed when 100 heavily armed men, believed to be former members of the M23 rebel group, attacked a patrol post near the village of Bukima in North Kivu. Other rangers fled unharmed.
Several armed groups, including the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, known by their French acronym FDLR, the Mai-Mai and the M23 regularly compete for control of natural resources in eastern Congo.
Despite the danger, Chinese companies have moved to Congo and other unstable African states in search of scarce minerals and other natural resources. Chinese workers have also been the target of kidnappings and attacks in Pakistan and other countries with active insurgencies.