New Delhi, Mar 20: Suspected armed rebels stormed a Chinese private company in the Central African Republic, killing nine Chinese nationals and wounding two others. Officials and news agencies said.
The attack early Sunday came just days after gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals in the Central Africa Republic near the border with Cameroon.
News agencies said that the assault on the Chimbolo gold mine began early morning on Sunday when the suspected gunmen overpowered the site's guards and opened fire.
The bodies of the victims were brought to the capital, Bangui. And local authorities have launched a massive search operation to arrest the assailants but declined to give more details.
"We have counted nine bodies and two wounded," Abel Matchipata, the mayor, told AFP. The attack happened about 5 am (03:00 GMT), he added.
The Chinese Embassy in the Central African Republic released a security warning, urging Chinese nationals to immediately evacuate from areas outside of Bangui in the Central African Republic and report their location and status to the embassy, as there have been several fatal safety incidents which have taken place targeting personnel at foreign mine sites leading to casualties.
On March 14, the embassy warned Chinese institutions and nationals not to travel to areas outside of Bangui unless necessary considering foreign citizens being kidnapped by local gunmen.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for "severe punishment" for the perpetrators and said Chinese citizens' safety must be ensured, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed that every effort be made to save the lives of the injured, make timely and proper arrangements for dealing with the aftermath of the attack, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
The security risk level in CAR, apart from the capital, was "red" or very high, the Chinese foreign ministry added. The foreign ministry said it would work with governments and guide its embassies and consulates to take further effective measures to safeguard Chinese citizens and enterprises in Africa fully.
The Central African Republic is one of the least developed countries in the world and has abundant mineral wealth, including diamonds, gold, uranium, nickel, and manganese. As the country's security environment deteriorates, some Chinese nationals have become key targets of kidnapping and extortion in recent years.