China warns citizens after nine killed near Central African Republic gold mine

CHINA has warned citizens to avoid travelling outside the Central African Republic’s Bangui after nine nationals were killed in an attack by militants at a gold mine outside the capital.

Reuters cited China’s embassy as saying there had been many “vicious” security incidents against workers of foreign mining enterprises in the area. Chinese citizens outside Bangui were asked to evacuate immediately.

Armed men killed nine Chinese nationals and wounded two more in an attack on a mine run by the Gold Coast Group, 25 kilometres from the town of Bambari, said Reuters.

“It was yesterday morning around 5am that we heard weapons being fired,” Abel Matchipata, the town’s mayor told the newswire. “A little later we learned it was the Chinese mining site that was attacked.”

He said the attackers were thought to be from the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), an alliance of rebel groups formed ahead of the 2020 presidential election to oppose President Faustin-Archange Touadera. The CPC in a statement denied responsibility and condemned the attack.

A patchwork of armed groups control swathes of territory and regularly commit abuses against the civilian population in Central African Republic, a country that has rarely known stability since independence in 1960, said Reuters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for “severe punishment” of the perpetrators in accordance to the law, and said the safety of Chinese citizens must be ensured, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.