A gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) killed three Chinese nationals, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.
The attack on Saturday was in Ituri province, bordering Uganda and South Sudan, Xinhua said, without naming the mine or the company operating it. “Three Chinese citizens were unfortunately killed,” it said.
The DRC is the world’s biggest producer of cobalt – a key ingredient in batteries for electric vehicles – and one of Africa’s biggest copper producers, although its key copper-cobalt producing region is the south-west, far from the attack.
The country attracted billions of dollars in investment from Chinese miners in recent years despite security risks. Canadian gold miner Banro, which owns mines in Maniema, a DRC province south of Ituri, suspended operations last year after several mines were overrun by armed rebels.
The Chinese embassy asked the Congolese government to “take effective measures to protect the lives and property of Chinese citizens” in the DRC, as well as to expedite an investigation into the killings, Xinhua said, noting the embassy repeatedly advised Chinese citizens against travel to Ituri due to armed groups.