Mon. Jun 10th, 2024

The government of the Central African Republic has suspended the activities of a Chinese mining company in the country, accusing it of cooperating with armed militias, according to a government decree.

The country’s Ministry of Mines has accused Daqing SARL, a Chinese gold and diamond mining company, of “intelligence with armed groups, illegal mining, illegal introduction of foreign subjects into mining areas, non-payment of taxes and absence of activity reports”, in the decree, which was made public on Saturday.

Daqing SARL operated in Mingala, a town in southern Central African Republic plagued by fighting between the country’s armed forces and the Coalition of Patriots for Change, an anti-government armed group.

The Central African Republic has been in conflict since 2013 when predominantly Muslim rebels seized power and forced President François Bozize from office. Predominantly Christian militias fought back.

The peace deal reached in 2019 only eased the fighting, and six of the 14 signatory armed groups subsequently left the agreement. The Coalition of Patriots for Change was founded in 2020 following the agreement.

The country remains one of the poorest in the world despite its vast mineral wealth, notably gold and diamonds. Over the past decade, rebel groups have operated with impunity in the conflict-ridden country, preventing foreign companies from carrying out mineral exploration.

Many of those operating in the country today are Chinese-run and have faced security concerns. Last month, four workers were killed at a Chinese-run gold mine in an attack the local government blamed on the Coalition of Patriots for Change.

Last year, nine Chinese nationals were killed at another gold mine in the Central African Republic. The government attributed the attack to the same rebel alliance. In 2020, two Chinese nationals died when local residents led an uprising against a Chinese-operated mine in the south of the country.

By Joy

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