Cape Town - Armed men attacked a mine in central Nigeria on Wednesday killing security personnel and kidnapping workers, including at least four Chinese nationals local authorities said in a statement on Thursday, citing an AFP report.
According to reports, Chinese employees working on mines and large infrastructure projects in remote areas are often targeted for kidnapping and usually released after a short period in captivity.
Abductions in Nigeria are on the rise, with just over 1 000 people kidnapped in 2021 alone.
Gunmen attacked the mine in Ajata Aboki village in Shiroro region of Niger state on Wednesday afternoon, according to the local commissioner for security, Emmanuel Umar.
According to Nigerian security authorities, they blamed the attack on “armed bandits/terrorists”, said the AFP report.
Nigeria recently listed bandit gangs operating in the north-west as terrorist groups, in a move to give the military more flexibility in operations against them.
Abductions for ransom have become increasingly common across the country.
Armed gangs killed more than 2 600 civilians in 2021, according to data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.
According to Quartz Africa, at the end of 2019, the most recent data available reveals there were 182 745 Chinese workers in Africa, mostly spread across some 10 000 Chinese-owned businesses.
The number of Chinese workers in Africa has declined by 30.7% over the last five years, said the report, after reaching a peak of 263 659 workers in 2015. Chinese labour force in Africa has dropped consistently since 2016, writes Quartz Africa.