Suspected Boko Haram rebels, from Nigeria, attacked a Chinese work site in northern Cameroon, and killed at least one Cameroonian soldier, whereas 10 Chinese workers were missing. It appears that they were abducted, officials and state media said.
The Chinese embassy in Yaounde confirmed the attack, on Friday, at a site near the town on Waza, 12 miles from the Nigerian border close to the Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram stronghold.
Chinese Embassy political counselor Lu Qingiiang said, one Chinese worker was injured in the attack, and 10 were missing, China’s Xinhua state news agency reported.
There were ten vehicles taken, by the attackers, belonged to China's state-run construction company Sinohydro, which is used in repairing roads in Cameroon, Xinhua said.
Lu called on the Cameroonian authorities "not to put the lives of Chinese's nationals missing in danger in case actions of liberation be launched,’ Xinhua said.
The Islamist group kidnapped more than 200 girls, from a school, on the Nigerian side of the border, last month, and Nigerian troops together with foreign units whose searching the area around the forest.
Friday’s incident began when the power was cut in the evening then a five-hour gunfight followed, a guard at the Waza National Park told Reuters.
“Some of us decided to hide in the forest with the animals,” the guard said, requesting anonymity.
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region, Augustine Fonka Awa, said earlier, he believed Boko Haram had carried out the attack. Authorities were investigating reports that at least one Cameroon soldier was killed, and 10 people abducted, he said.
Cameroon state radio said in a report from the region that Cameroon special-forces' soldiers, four were seriously wounded, and one of them killed.
The meeting in Paris, on Saturday, to improve cooperation in the fight against Boko Haram, and other militant groups, French President Francois Hollande said, “it was becoming a threat to all of the West and Central Africa.”
There were incidents made by Boko Haram: several attacks in northern Cameroon during its five-year fight to set up an Islamist state. Last month, it attacked a police post killing two people. The rebels kidnapped a French family in February 2013.
Sinhohydro’s vice general manager, Lan Ronghe, was quoted by Xinhua as saying the man wounded in the attacks was shot twice, its shoulder and the abdomen, on his camp near the Qaza Park.
The Chinese embassy halts its visits to the area.
“For companies operating in the northern part of Cameroon, in particular, they should instantly start security contingency plans,” the embassy said in a statement.
At least two Chinese enterprises operate in the region. An engineering unit of Sinohydro who’s operating the camp, Xinhua said.
Yan Chang Logone Development Holding Company, a subsidiary of China’s Yanchang Petroleum, is exploring for oil.
Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, who’s attending the Paris summit, said Boko Haram was becoming not only a regional problem, but also a Western one. Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun were kidnapped in April.
“They have committed one more attack. They attacked businessmen, and this comes after the French hostages were kidnapped. As we speak, we are searching for the Italian priests and Canadian nun,” Biya said.
Nigerian authorities say Cameroon has not done enough to secure its border because Boko Haram has been using the sparsely populated Far North Region as a transit route for weapons and as a base for attacks in northeastern Nigeria.
Cameroon said in March it would send 700 soldiers to the border as part of regional efforts to tackle the rebels.
Outrage over the kidnapping of the schoolgirls has prompted Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, criticized at home for his government’s slow response; to accept US, British, and French intelligence helps in the hunt for the girls.