China warns citizens not to travel outside Central African Republic capital after 9 Chinese killed in attack
Published: Mar 20, 2023 11:41 AM
Photo: Snapshot from the Chinese Foreign Ministry website

Photo: Snapshot from the Chinese Foreign Ministry website

The Chinese foreign ministry has activated the consular emergency response mechanism and warned its citizens not to travel outside the Central African Republic's capital Bangui after an attack in the African country killed nine Chinese and severely injured two.

According to the Foreign Ministry on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping has given his full attention to the armed attack, stressing to save the lives of the injured, make timely and proper arrangements for dealing with the aftermath of the attack, make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, and ensure the safety of Chinese nationals. 

To implement the instructions of Xi, the Chinese foreign ministry immediately activated the consular emergency response mechanism and put teams on duty around the clock. A diplomatic representation has been made to the Embassy of the Central African Republic in China. A working group from the Chinese embassy has rushed to the site to coordinate the response to the attack, said the spokesperson of the foreign ministry.

The entire Central African Republic, with the exception of its capital Bangui, is rated red -meaning extremely high - in terms of security risks, said the ministry. Over the past few months, the foreign ministry has issued several security alerts, urging Chinese nationals to stay informed of the latest security alerts and stop visiting high-risk areas.

The ministry vowed to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals and companies in Africa with utmost efforts, including directing the nation's embassies and consulates overseas to take further effective steps in this regard.

The Chinese Embassy in the Central African Republic released a security warning on Sunday, urging Chinese nationals to immediately evacuate from areas outside of Bangui in the Central African Republic and report their locations and status to the embassy. 

On March 14, the Embassy warned Chinese institutions and nationals not to travel to areas outside of Bangui unless necessary in light of foreign citizens being kidnapped by local gunmen.

The security situation in regions outside Bangui in Central African Republic is worrisome and the Chinese enterprises there are mainly the more adventurous private companies. Some companies have hired mercenaries, but it doesn't work well, He Yaxian, head of a local chamber of commerce in the Central African Republic, told the Global Times on Monday.

The Central African Republic's rich mineral resources have attracted some Chinese investors, but there are complex armed groups and anti-government forces in regions outside Bangui, which often clash with the government's army and UN peacekeeping forces, Shen Shiwei, a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday.

Shen said the frequent local armed conflicts, unclear ownership of mining rights, and the complicated conflicts between local private mine owners have made the risk of the local mining industry very high. That's why the Chinese Embassy has kept releasing security alerts, asking Chinese citizens not to travel to areas outside the capital. 

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 targets of kidnapping and extortion in recent years.

The Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the embassy have repeatedly warned its nationals to avoid traveling outside Bangui since 2018.

Global Times