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Chinese Nationals Kidnapped in the Central African Republic

TIN NETWORK
TIN NETWORK

Chinese Nationals Kidnapped in the Central African Republic

Wagner mercenaries pose with Chinese nationals evacuated from Bumbari mine in the Central African Republic following intelligence alluding to a potential kidnapping plot by local rebel groups. South China Morning Post

According to independent local sources, an undisclosed number of Chinese nationals working at a mining site in Gofo, Basse-Kotto prefecture, in the Central African Republic have been kidnapped. 

What You Need to Know:

Reports claim three vehicles belonging to the Chinese nationals were also taken during the incident. 

The mining site lies nearly 400 miles east of the capital of Bangui, which remains the Central African government’s only stronghold. The rest of the country is largely controlled by different rebel factions including the anti-Balaka, Seleka, Chadian Rebels, Misseria Arabs, and the Azande AKG. 

The current whereabouts of the taken Chinese mine workers is currently unknown, nor is it known why they were kidnapped. 

local publication Corbeau News Centrafrique, has alluded to Wagner forces being behind the kidnapping. However, as seen in previous attacks on Chinese nationals by the private military group, hostage taking does not fall into the group’s usual modus operandi. 

In March 2023, nine Chinese mine workers were killed during an attack by the private military group in Chingbolo. After the attack, a local vigilante group claimed that “two pickup trucks carrying white soldiers” were seen in the area 10 minutes before a “loud explosion was heard at the mine and around an hour of gunfire.”

In the Central African Republic, Russia utilizes extralegal means such as Wagner mercenaries to secure access to mining sites, even if that requires the ‘removal’ of the workers currently operating it. 

The country’s rebel groups however, do not tend to kill foreigners, instead opting to kidnap them in order to receive ransom money. 

Additionally, Dimbi, where the mine workers were kidnapped lies on the cusp of Union for Peace (UPC) rebel territory, and a pocket of government controlled territory, raising further questions about who is behind the attack. 

Map By Borysk5 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88463694
Dimbi, where the Chinese nationals were kidnapped sits between UPC and government controlled territory

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