Gunmen Kill Two Chinese Nationals in Nigeria

Reuters reports two Chinese nationals have been killed in northeast Nigeria. This incident comes amid recent tensions in Africa when a Chinese manager was killed in Zambia:

The killings bring to four the number of Chinese workers killed in the last month in Borno, after gunmen suspected of being robbers killed two construction workers in October.

Radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks in Borno state since it launched an uprising there in 2009, mostly targeting figures of authority.

“At about 8 a.m. (Wednesday) some gunmen shot and killed two Chinese construction workers at Benisheik in Kaga local government of Borno state,” Police Commissioner Abdullahi Yuguda told Reuters.

Boko Haram’s insurgency has contributed to a breakdown in order across the north of Africa’s most populous nation and security sources believe criminal gangs carry out deadly armed robberies knowing Boko Haram is likely to be blamed.

While Boko Haram’s attacks have killed hundreds in the region, the identity of the killers of the two Chinese workers is still unknown, according to the BBC:

The BBC’s Bashir Abdullahi in the capital, Abuja, says the general insecurity has also allowed robbers to take advantage of the situation – using the militants as a guise.

Chinese workers are involved in many construction works across the north – most of them funded by the Chinese government.

According to an official at the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, four engineers had just arrived in Benisheikh from Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe state.

“Some unknown gunmen trailed them to the yard and opened fire, killing two Chinese engineers,” the official told the AFP news agency.

As Africa’s Chinese diaspora faces more pressure, China is urging Nigeria to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals, from China Daily:

“The Foreign Ministry has instructed the Chinese embassy in Nigeria to deal with the incident immediately. The embassy lodged representations with the Nigerian side,” spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.

The embassy also urged the Nigerian government to take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in the country, Hong said.

The attack was the third involving Chinese working in Nigeria in the last month. A cook working for a Chinese construction company was killed in the city of Maiduguri in north Nigeria’s state of Borno on Oct 8.

A Chinese construction worker was shot dead in the same city on Oct 19.

Read more about China’s investment in Africa, via CDT.


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