In the Central African Republic, nine Chinese killed in the attack on a mining site
Nine Chinese were killed at a mining site in the Central African Republic, in the grip of a civil war, an attack denounced by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who called on Monday March 20 to “severely punish” the guilty.
The attack took place around 5 a.m. on Sunday in the Bambari region, in the center of the country, said the mayor of the commune, Abel Matchipata. “We counted nine bodies and two wounded”, he specified. According to him, the victims are Chinese nationals working at a mining site in “The Gold Coast Group Company”located 25 km from the locality and which was attacked by “armed men”.
China confirmed the toll on Monday, citing “two seriously injured”, but without giving further details on the circumstances of the attack, which has not been the subject of any claim so far. Xi Jinping “called for all necessary efforts to treat the injured” as well as “severely punish the murderers according to the law”the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
“With the exception of the capital, Bangui, the level of security risk in the other regions of the Central African Republic is red, that is to say extremely high”the ministry recalled, calling on Chinese citizens “to be evacuated as soon as possible” dangerous areas.
“Ignoble and barbaric”
The bodies of the victims of the attack were transferred to the Amitié hospital in Bangui, where the Chinese ambassador, Li Qinfeng, and the Central African foreign minister, Sylvie Baïpo Temon, went, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse.
The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), an alliance of rebel groups created in December 2020 to overthrow the president, Faustin Archange Touadéra, denied any involvement in the attack on Sunday. She denounced an act “despicable and barbaric”accused the « Russian mercenaries [de l’organisme paramilitaire] Wagner » to be the origin.
The Central African Republic, the second least developed country in the world according to the United Nations (UN), has been the scene of a civil war since 2013, very deadly in its first years but which has decreased in intensity since 2018. At the end of 2020, the most powerful of the many armed groups which then shared two-thirds of the territory had launched an offensive on Bangui shortly before the elections and Mr. Touadéra had called on Moscow to the rescue of his impoverished army.
Hundreds of Russian paramilitaries had then joined the few hundred already present since 2018. This had made it possible, in a few months, to repel the rebels’ offensive, then to drive them back from a large part of the territories and cities they controlled. , but without being able to reinstall everywhere and permanently the presence and authority of the Central African State.