Rescue workers work in a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Tonkolili gold mining district near Kamwina Nsapu, DR Congo. (Patrick Baz/AP Photo)
Five Chinese nationals kidnapped by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been freed, according to their Chinese embassy in the DRC. It said in a statement that the assailants set fire to vehicles and burned the hostages to death, but that the Chinese team rescued them.
Two of the five kidnapped men were found dead at the mine where they worked, the New York Times reported. Among the others, there was a missing man, an engineer, a security guard and a technician.
Another Chinese mining company that operated in Kamwina Nsapu said in a statement that the attack on the Chinese employees occurred in late June. “They had been living together in the mining town. According to reports, the people, who attacked them, had arrived from the forest,” said the company.
The attack, which reportedly took place in the town of Kamako, echoes a group of deadly clashes that began last month in the Kamako district, where the uprising of a local tribe known as the Kamwina Nsapu movement had taken hold. The United Nations and other aid groups had been restricted from entering the area, but last week, Reuters reported that more than 15,000 people were now living at an open-air camp around a UNHCR container facility for displaced people in the Kamako district. Nearly a quarter of those displaced are women and children.
Incidents such as this have cast a shadow over the reputation of mining in DRC, which has been on a roller coaster ride in recent years. Under Kabila, mining projects were closed by violence and major mines were privatized. The world’s most important copper mines also took a drubbing in 2016, due to falling copper prices, and since then, foreign companies have all but withdrawn.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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