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China Suspends Uranium Operation in Northern Niger After Rebel Threats

A Chinese company has shut down its uranium prospecting operation in northern Niger following threats from rebels.

Military officials and sources close to the company say the China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation halted operations after receiving threats from a Tuareg-led rebel group Niger Movement for Justice.

The sources say all of the company's workers have been evacuated with their prospecting equipment to Ingall, about 100 kilometers northeast of the capital, Niamey.

The rebel group kidnapped an executive of the Chinese company on Friday.

Niger is one of the world's leading producers of uranium.

The Tuareg rebels have carried out a series of attacks against government and foreign interests in the region in recent months.

The rebel group contends Niger's government has failed to live up to a 1995 peace deal promising local residents greater control over the region's rich natural resources.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.