Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, on Monday confirmed the abduction of five Chinese nationals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Zhao said the abductions took place during an attack on a gold mine in the village of Mukera in eastern Congo, adding that in another recent incident in Nigeria, three Chinese employees were also kidnapped.
The spokesperson stressed that there were “great security risks’’ in Nigeria and Congo, and these incidents were not the first of their kind either.
“China’s Foreign Ministry, embassies and consulates had previously advised nationals not to go to high-risk areas.’’
China has significantly increased its investments in the mining industry in Africa in recent years.
This has led to growing local resentment towards wealthy Chinese employees working in countries such as the resource-rich Congo, where living standards are extremely low.
In 2008, Congo’s former president Joseph Kabila signed a highly controversial nine-billion-dollar agreement guaranteeing China mining rights in the country in return for funding for much-needed infrastructure projects.
A few weeks ago, Kabila’s successor, Felix Tshisekedi, called for a review of the agreement and for what he termed “fairer deals”.