Boko Haram suspected of kidnapping Chinese workers from Cameroon camp

Islamists from Nigeria suspected of kidnapping at least 10 from Cameroon camp; soldier killed

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 May, 2014, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 6:52pm

Suspected Boko Haram Islamist rebels from Nigeria have attacked a Chinese work site in northern Cameroon and at least 10 people are believed kidnapped.

Cameroon state radio said one of its special forces soldiers was killed in the fighting.

The Chinese embassy in Yaounde confirmed the attack at a site near the town of Waza, just across the border from Chibok, where the rebels sparked global outrage by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls last month. Nigerian troops backed by foreign units, including Chinese troops, are searching for the girls abducted from Chibok village.

At least two Chinese enterprises operate in the region. Xinhua said an engineering unit of state-run construction company Sinohydro, which is repairing roads, operated the camp.

Yan Chang Logone Development Holding Company, a subsidiary of Yanchang Petroleum, is exploring for oil.

Chinese embassy political counsellor Lu Qingjiang said there was no plan to evacuate all nationals from Cameroon because most of them live in Yaounde and other big cities.

"There are about 10,000 Chinese in Cameroon, but just a very few live in the far north," Lu said.

One Chinese national who was injured in the attack is being treated in neighbouring Chad.

"We heard that his situation is stable now. But the other 10 people are still missing," Lu said.

Friday's incident began when power was cut in the evening. A five-hour gunfight followed, a guard at the Waza National Park said.

The Chinese embassy suspended visits to the area.

"The militants were heavily armed, they came in five vehicles," an official in Waza said.

He said the camp was usually guarded by soldiers from Cameroon's elite Rapid Intervention Battalion, but many of them were in Yaounde for a military parade ahead of National Day on May 20.

Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse