The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing has urged Chinese citizens and firms working in Africa to leave risky areas in Nigeria, Congo and other parts of the African continent.
The foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, who confirmed the abduction of five Chinese nationals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also warned the Chinese citizens against travelling to some risky areas.
The spokesperson said the abductions in Congo took place during an attack by “unknown” gunmen on a mine in the village of Mukera in eastern Congo.
Zhao said the attack also left one police officer dead.
He said, in another recent incident in Nigeria, three Chinese employees were also kidnapped by armed robbers at a Chinese private company in Kogi State, Nigeria.
“An armed guard police at the site was injured. A task force formed by Nigeria is carrying out the rescue,” he added.
He stressed that there were great security risks in Nigeria and Congo, and these incidents were not the first of their kind either.
“Since the beginning of this year, kidnapping of Chinese citizens in the DRC and Nigeria happens from time to time, raising the security risk.
He said that China’s Foreign Ministry, embassies and consulates had previously advised nationals not to go to high-risk areas.
“The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies and consulates have issued multiple warnings to Chinese citizens, dissuading them from traveling to regions of high risks for the time being, and advised companies and personnel in high-risk areas to relocate or evacuate as soon as possible.
“Here, we would once again remind Chinese businesses and citizens abroad to closely follow security risks in countries concerned and security alerts issued by the Foreign Ministry and embassies and consulates concerned.
“Chinese citizens should voluntarily touch base with the embassy and consulate, better protect themselves and step up contingency preparations.
“To those who are in regions of high risks, please relocate or evacuate as soon as possible,” he added.
In recent years, China has significantly increased its investments in the mining industry in Africa, which had 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.