CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Consulate in Nigeria urges local police to rescue kidnapped Chinese workers: FM spokesperson
Published: Apr 07, 2021 10:11 PM
Weapons, ammunition and counterfeit military uniforms are displayed in an event showcasing Nigerian police's achievements in fighting illegal militants in Abuja, Nigeria on Sept. 30, 2020. Nigerian police have recently stepped up fight against robbers, kidnappers and illegal armed groups in different parts of the country. (Photo by David Oma/Xinhua)

Weapons, ammunition and counterfeit military uniforms are displayed in an event showcasing Nigerian police's achievements in fighting illegal militants in Abuja, Nigeria on Sept. 30, 2020. Nigerian police have recently stepped up fight against robbers, kidnappers and illegal armed groups in different parts of the country. (Photo by David Oma/Xinhua)

In response to the kidnapping of two Chinese nationals in Nigeria, the Chinese Consulate-General in Lagos has launched an emergency plan, urging the Nigerian police to make every effort to rescue the hostages, and guiding local Chinese enterprises on an appropriate response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Thursday.

The Chinese Consulate-General in Lagos told the Global Times that they are currently investigating the incident and will disclose the latest progress through public channels. Previously, AFP reported that two Chinese workers had been kidnapped at a gold mine in Osun state, southwestern Nigeria on Monday.

Local police spokesperson Yemisi Opalola said in a statement that around 4pm that day, a group of criminals attacked the local gold mine and abducted two Chinese citizens. The two men, Zhao Jian, 33, and Wen, 50, were employees at the gold mine.

Opalola said the kidnappers shot and wounded two security personnel, who appeared to be private guards for local foreigners, and they have now been taken to hospital.

Currently, the police are on the trail of the perpetrators. 

The AFP report noted that kidnappings for ransom used to be common in Nigeria's southern oil-producing regions, but have recently spread to other parts of the country. And because Chinese companies are working on multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects in Nigeria, including mining and building railways, airports and roads, Chinese workers are often targeted by kidnap gangs.

According to local media reports, police in Nigeria's Ogun State rescued two Chinese nationals on Tuesday. The two victims were working for a fishing and poultry company in Ogun and were kidnapped last Wednesday. 

On February 1, three Chinese workers were kidnapped and the police guard accompanying them was killed after a dispute with local miners in Osun state.

"We are very often the 'sweet pastry' for local violent militants. I once heard a friend relay the story of a Chinese worker who experienced a kidnapping firsthand; he had literally gone to hell on earth," Chen Hanqing, a Chinese engineer involved in infrastructure construction projects in Nigeria told the Global times. Chen said that Nigeria has always had a high incidence of kidnappings, which are mostly carried out for the purpose of demanding large ransoms.

Chen said that at present, most Chinese companies in Nigeria employ security guards to protect their employees. Local embassies and consulates have repeatedly reminded Chinese citizens and organizations to be cautious about security risks where they operate.

Global Times
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