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Chinese enterprise's camp in Cameroon attacked, one wounded

The Chinese Embassy in Cameroon has confirmed an unidentified armed group attacked a Chinese company's camp in northern Cameroon on Friday night, leaving one Chinese national wounded and 10 others missing.

"The camp of the Cameroon subsidiary of China's Sinohydro Bureau 16 in the far north was attacked by an armed group. A Chinese employee was wounded, 10 others went missing. The armed attackers also took 10 vehicles of the Chinese company," embassy political counselor Lu Qingjiang told Xinhua.

"The wounded person has been evacuated to Chad for emergency care. We contacted the Cameroonian authorities and asked them to take effective measures to locate our compatriots and guarantee the safety of Chinese nationals in the region," Lu told Xinhua.

"We urge the Cameroonian authorities not to put the lives of the Chinese nationals missing in danger if actions to liberate them are launched," the diplomat said.

Embassy officials have been dispatched to the site, more than 1,500 km north of the capital, Yaounde.

The wounded Chinese national was out of danger providing there were no abnormal complications, the company's vice general manager, Lan Ronghe, told Xinhua.

The young man received two bullet wounds, to a shoulder and the abdomen, during the attack against the camp near Waza Park, Lan said.

"Friday night around 9:20 local time (8:20 GMT), our staff, 52 in total including two women, heard gun shots and grenades outside the camp. We immediately put out all lights and ordered all personnel to take shelter in their rooms," Lan said.

"The armed attackers forced their way into the camp, raided a housing building and started all 10 vehicles parked in the camp. Then the gunfire became more and more intense, we thought they were exchanging fire with the Cameroonian forces since we had called them for help," he said.

"Around 0:30 Saturday morning, all sound of firing faded out, we got out of the shelter to count the toll. A young man was unconsciousness, wounded by two bullets. Ten others were missing. All vehicles too," Lan said.

"After initial treatment by a medical officer of the Cameroonian army, the company decided to send the wounded to N'Djamena, the Chadian capital where better care is expected," Lan said.

"He lost a lot of blood. The road is bad, the evacuation took too much time. Fortunately, the bullet that pierced his abdomen had not hit any vital organs, apparently. He has regained consciousness. The doctors said that if nothing extremely abnormal happens in the coming hours, we can conclude that he is 100 percent out of danger," the manager said.

Sinohydro Bureau 16 is a subsidiary of Sinohydro, a leading Chinese international contractor in the power and infrastructure sectors.

According to the Chinese enterprise, the camp attacked is located in the far north of Cameroon bordering Nigeria, where it is engaged in a road improvement project co-financed by the World Bank and the Cameroon government.

Although no organization so far has claimed responsibility for the attack, reports said Boko Haram rebels from Nigeria might be behind the attack.

Reuters quoted a Cameroon regional governor as saying Saturday that suspected Boko Haram rebels attacked the site near the town of Waza, 20 km from the Nigerian border and close to the Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram stronghold.

Cameroon's Far North Region governor Augustine Fonka Awa said he believed the 10 people were abducted by Boko Haram.

AFP also reported that Boko Haram gunmen carried out the attack, quoting an official in Waza as saying "the Boko Haram militants were heavily armed, they came in five vehicles."

Many soldiers from an elite Cameroonian battalion guarding the Chinese camp were transferred to Yaounde for a military parade marking National Day on May 20, it said.

Cameroonian soldiers exchanged fire for hours with the gunmen, who also raided the police armoury in Waza overnight.

The attack took place as Cameroon President Paul Biya was attending a security summit in Paris to explore measures to counter Boko Haram.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and representatives from Chad, Niger, Benin, the United States and Britain were also attending the meeting.

The summit was called by French President Francois Hollande after Boko Haram abducted 200 girls from a school in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok on April 14.

Boko Haram, the Islamic sect responsible for many horrific terrorist acts in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for a number of kidnappings since 2013.

In February 2013, a French family of three adults and four children aged 5 to 12 years, were kidnapped in the region and taken to Nigeria, where they were held for two months before being released.

In November 2013, a group of armed men from Nigeria who spoke English, kidnapped a French priest, Georges Vandenbeusch, who was later released.

In April this year, two Italian priests and a Canadian were abducted from their residences in the region.

[Source: Xinhua, Yaounde, 17May14]

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