By Aurore Bonny
DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - Several hundred people in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have participated in a demonstration in support of China and Russia four days after the murder of nine Chinese at a mining site in the country, local media reported.
People holding signs of "support for China and Russia" during a "peaceful march" till late Wednesday expressed "their solidarity with bilateral cooperation with China and Russia," quoted Ndjoni Sango, a Central African online media outlet. An investigation into the attack is underway, according to officials.
The demonstration came after nine Chinese nationals were killed on Sunday in an attack on the Chingbolo mining site, located 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from Bambari in the Ouaka prefecture. Two others were seriously injured.
The demonstrators responded to calls from civil society, including a call from the ruling Republican Front and the Pan-African Galaxy platform.
In its call to protest issued on March 22, the Republican Front called on protesters to reiterate "strong support for Russia and China in the Central African Republic in general, and the Wagner paramilitary forces in particular."
This refers to "support the continuation of counter-terrorism operations and condemn the recent terrorist attacks in the Central African Republic, resulting in kidnappings, murders, mine traps against the Central African population," the pro-government organization added.
In images received by Anadolu, placards held by some demonstrators read: "No to terrorist attacks on foreigners in the Central African Republic."
While others demanded "that light be shed on this assassination" and called for the elimination of the rebel groups.
Some placards also displayed support for Wagner, the private Russian mercenary group, and for Russia as a whole.
"We love Russia and we love Wagner," other images show.
Dieudonne Toka, one of the leaders of the Pan-African Galaxy platform, quoted by local Radio Ndekeluka, also asked the Central African diplomacy to react quickly with some embassies to clarify "the terrorist acts" in the country.
"The people are standing up and waiting for the diplomacy of their country to save them, protect foreigners and partners who work for the development of the country," he said.
Arriving at the Chinese Embassy, the group laid a wreath of flowers after singing the Central African national anthem in front of the closed gate of the embassy in the absence of the Chinese authorities, followed by a memorandum, according to other local media sources.
"We, the Central African people, aspire definitively to peace and security. ... We are very upset about the cowardly and despicable attack in the village of Chingbolo, against Chinese partners who came to exploit the gold resources. We express our condolences to the Chinese nation and demand that justice be mobilized to fight against the illegal arms carriers who are spreading terror in the country," they said.
Speaking of the killing of these Chinese nationals, the Central African Ministry of Justice reported a crime of murder as well as "assault and battery." It announced "an urgent investigation to determine the exact circumstances of these criminal acts and bring them to justice."
The investigating commission should file a report within 21 days as Arnaud Djoubaye Abazene, the minister in charge of justice and human rights, demanded on Tuesday.