China’s embassy in the Central African Republic has urged its citizens to avoid travelling outside the capital, Bangui, after a report that nine Chinese nationals were killed by rebels at a gold mine outside the city.
The embassy said in a statement on Sunday 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.
Armed men killed nine Chinese nationals in an attack on a mine run by the Gold Coast Group, 25km (15 miles) from the town of Bambari, its mayor said on Sunday, according to the AFP news agency.
“We have counted nine bodies and two wounded,” Abel Matchipata, the mayor, told AFP. The attack happened about 5am (03:00 GMT), he added.
A security source confirmed the toll and the nationality of the victims, according to AFP.
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.
In view of the security risks, the Chinese embassy warned its citizens not to travel outside Bangui and in case of emergency, to contact the embassy to seek consular protection.
The security risk level in CAR, apart from the capital, was “red”, or very high, the Chinese foreign ministry added.
The ministry said it would work with governments and guide its embassies and consulates to take further effective measures to fully safeguard Chinese citizens and enterprises in Africa.
There have been several attacks on Chinese nationals abroad in recent months, prompting embassies to issue warnings and conduct evacuations.