An attack on a Chinese mining convoy carrying gold in Congo leaves 4 dead, authorities say

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — An attack on a Chinese mining convoy transporting gold in northeast Congo killed four people, including two Chinese nationals, authorities said Friday.

Sammy Badibanga Kalonji, administrator of the Fizi territory where the attack took place, said a Congolese soldier, a driver and two Chinese nationals were killed in the armed robbery near the Kimbo river.

Three people were seriously wounded in the attack, including a Congolese soldier and a worker, Kalonji said. The wounded were receiving treatment in a local hospital.

Kalonji said the assailants stole a “large quantity” of gold from the convoy, which belonged to a Chinese mining company operating in the restive South Kivu province. He had no additional details.

Many Chinese companies mine gold and other minerals in South Kivu, one of the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo that have been plagued by violence from armed groups for nearly three decades.

Attacks on quarries and mining cooperatives are frequent in the region as more than 120 armed groups compete for land and resources in eastern Congo. In 2022, a Congolese employee of another Chinese mining company in South Kivu was killed in a similar attack by armed robbers.

The Congolese government suspended six Chinese mining companies from operating in South Kivu in 2021 for operating illegally.

The Congolese government has said it is also working to secure better terms on a $6.2 billion mining contract with China, which authorities say has not been profitable enough for the Central African nation since the deal was signed in 2008.