At least three Chinese nationals were killed and three others critically wounded in southwestern Central African Republic on Thursday, beaten by villagers who blamed them for the drowning of a prominent local man.
A team of roughly 10 male Chinese nationals had drafted Ignace Dimbele-Nakoea, a youth leader and the younger brother of the National Assembly's second vice president, to help guide them along the Kadei River from Sasso-Nakombo to the site of a gold mine, according to local news accounts. Their boat capsized en route, and Dimbele-Nakoe disappeared. His body was later recovered.
When the miners returned to give a statement at the village police station, angry villagers beat them with sticks. Just a few police were at the site.
In addition to those killed, three of the Chinese men were critically wounded and treated at a hospital in Berberati, 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of Sasso-Nakombo, a hospital representative told VOA. The bodies of the dead were flown to the capital, Bangui.
At a news conference Friday in Bangui, government spokesman Ange Maxime Kazagui said the attack would not go unpunished.
The Associated Press reported that the Chinese Embassy in Bangui did not respond to a request for comment.
This report originated in VOA's French to Africa service.