Trio suspected to have been abducted by armed group, says army.
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) –Three Chinese nationals have been missing since Sunday in a mining area of Ituri, a gold-rich province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the army confirmed Monday.
The trio worked in gold mining in Itendeyi, a village in the mining area in the Banyali Kilo sector of Djugu territory, according to Lieut. Jules Ngongo, a spokesman for the military’s operations in Ituri.
Elements of the Congolese army have been sent to the area to search for the missing, Ngongo told reporters, adding the trio is suspected to have been abducted by an armed group.
The Chinese have a strong presence in the gold area in DR Congo.
Ngongo said the three men may have been abducted by militiamen of the Cooperative For the Development of Congo (CODECO), one of the armed groups active in the province.
The Congolese army (FARDC) clashed last Friday with CODECO militiamen in Liseyi, an entity located around 13 kilometers (8 miles) southeast of Djugu territory, leading to displacements.
The militias reportedly wanted to gain control of Itendeyi airfield.
The CODECO militia group claims to defend the Lendu, one of the communities in Ituri.