China calls on citizens to leave eastern Congo after attacks

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China is urging its citizens to leave three provinces in eastern Congo as violence intensifies in the mineral-rich region

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BEIJING: China on Wednesday urged its citizens to leave three provinces in eastern Congo as violence intensified in the mineral-rich region.

A posting by the Chinese embassy in Kinshasa on WeChat online messaging said several Chinese nationals were attacked and abducted last month in South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri provinces, where several anti-government rebel groups have a presence. ,

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It asked Chinese living in the three provinces to provide their personal details by December 10 and make plans to move to safer parts of the Congo. Those living in Bunia, Jugu, Beni, Rutsuru, Fiji, Uvira and Mwenga districts should leave immediately, saying those who do not “will have to face the consequences themselves.”

“We call on all Chinese citizens and businesses with Chinese investments in the Congo to pay attention to the local situation, increase their security awareness and emergency preparedness, and avoid unnecessary outbound travel,” the embassy said.

No details were given of the incidents, although last month the embassy reported that five Chinese nationals had been kidnapped from a mining operation in South Kivu, which borders Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

It warned at one time that the security situation in the area was “extremely complex and dire” and there was little chance of sending help in the event of an attack or kidnapping.

No details were given about the abducted people, who they worked for or who they were suspected to have taken.

Several armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known by their French abbreviations FDLR, Mai-Mai and M23, regularly vie for control of eastern Congo’s natural resources.

Despite the threat, Chinese businesses have moved to the Congo and other unstable African states in search of cobalt and other scarce minerals and resources. Chinese workers have also been victims of kidnappings and attacks, with active insurgency in Pakistan and other countries.

Security was a key issue in a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Congolese counterpart Christophe Lutundula on Monday in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency.

China’s government and the ruling Communist Party ” attach great importance to the safety and security of Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens abroad and the Chinese side is deeply concerned by the recent serious crimes of kidnapping and killing of its citizens in the DRC,” said Wang, Congo. Using the acronym for Democratic Republic.

Wang urged Congo to ensure the release of the abducted people and to create a “safe, secure and stable environment for bilateral cooperation”.

Xinhua quoted Lutundula as saying that Congo would take “strong measures” to investigate crimes, free hostages, harshly punish criminals and protect national security and restore stability in the country’s east.

Earlier this week, Uganda said it launched joint air and artillery strikes with Congolese forces against camps of the extremist Allied Democratic Forces rebel group in eastern Congo.

The ADF was established in Uganda in the early 1990s and was later driven out by the Ugandan army into eastern Congo, where many insurgent groups are able to operate because the central government has limited control there.

At least four civilians were killed in the Ugandan capital less than two weeks after suicide bombers detonated their explosives in two places.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were carried out by the Ugandan people. Ugandan officials blame the ADF, which has been affiliated with the Islamic State group since 2019.

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