By Ebi Kesiena
Gunmen killed a police officer and kidnapped five Chinese nationals working at a gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict-plagued east on Sunday.
Regional Army spokesman, Major Dieudonne Kasereka said that “at around 2 am, the camp of the Chinese group was attacked by armed bandits” in the village of Mukera in Fizi territory of South Kivu province.
According to Kasereka, there were 14 in total, five were taken away by the attackers to an unknown destination, while the other nine were safely evacuated.
Colonel David Epanga, head of the armed forces in Fizi, said one policeman was killed and another was wounded in the attack.
The five abducted Chinese workers were employees of a company that has been operating a gold mine in the area for four to five months, Fizi civil society head Lusambya Wanumbe said.
“The company had difficulties starting its activities because of protests by the population which accused it of not respecting the rules,” Wanumbe said.
In August, South Kivu authorities suspended the work of half a dozen Chinese-financed companies, after residents accused them of mining for gold without permission and wrecking the environment.