Chinese govt could not get any information so far about the whereabouts of three Chinese nationals who were kidnapped along with two Mauritanians on Saturday by armed personnel in Mali’s Sahel region. Chinese foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian in Beijing said that Chinese Embassy in Mali has started the contingency plan and contacted the Mali side to rescue the hostages. “We again remind our companies and people in Mali to enhance their security awareness and their protection and ensure their personal and asset safety,” he said.
Gunmen have abducted three Chinese nationals and two Mauritanians from a construction site in southwestern Mali. No group has yet taken responsibility for the kidnapping. Chinese nationals were also target of recent terrorist attack in Pakistan in which 9 Chinese were killed and 27 got injured.
Kidnappings are common in Mali, with foreign nationals in particular regularly targeted by militants hoping to obtain ransoms for their release.As per media reports, the victims were working on road construction in the region by Chinese construction firm COVEC, and Mauritanian road-building company ATTM. Mali has been struggling since 2012 to contain violence linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) affiliated groups. The fighters have now expanded their operations from their strongholds in the country’s desert north to its centre as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.