Gunmen stormed a Chinese-operated gold mine in the Central African Republic on Sunday, killing nine Chinese nationals, authorities said.
"We have counted nine bodies and two wounded," the mayor of the nearby town of Bambari, Abel Matchipata, told Agence France-Presse.
He said the victims were Chinese workers at a site run by the Gold Coast Group. Following the attack, the Chinese embassy called on Chinese nationals to not travel outside the captal Bangui, according to a statement on the embassy website.
The assault on the Chimbolo gold mine began around 5 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) when the gunmen overpowered the site's guards and opened fire, said Matchipata.
The mining site's launch had taken place just days earlier, he added.
The attack came just days after gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals in the country's west near the border with Cameroon. The abductions prompted CAR President Faustin Archange Touadera to plan a trip to China in a bid to reassure investors.
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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack.
But suspicion fell on the Coalition of Patriots for Change, or CPC, which is active in the area and regularly launches attacks on the country's armed forces.
The alliance of rebel groups is aligned with former President Francois Bozize, who was ousted by Muslim-dominated armed groups in 2013.
Anselme Bangue, who supports the current president's administration, called the attack on Chinese businessmen an act of "indescribable cowardice."