Image copyright AFP Image caption Two more men were abducted on Thursday
Five Chinese nationals were kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday after a group of men kidnapped a local driver, the government has said.
The abduction follows an attack in the village of Darankoro just west of South Kivu’s mining hub of Goma in which six civilians were also kidnapped.
On Thursday, two men were abducted by armed men near the same mine, Congo’s interior ministry said.
It was not clear if the kidnappings were linked.
Militants from a local ethnic militia have attacked Congolese oil workers in the past.
Kimera oil project
Alarm has been raised about the security situation in Goma after the home and shops of the Chinese owner of a mobile phone manufacturer were burnt down on Thursday.
“It was a planned arson,” security minister Kabine Kahisi told reporters.
Some reports had said that the attack was targeting a charity, but police spokesman Olivier Hamuli said on Saturday the fire was linked to local ethnicity.
The motive was “probably related to that of the ethnic group affected” because a Goma mosque was also damaged by fire, Mr Hamuli said.
The attack, in the city’s Kola area, was on Thursday night after the Chinese owner of the Kizza mobile phone business closed up shop.
After gunmen broke into the building, they set fire to the mosque and shops owned by the Chinese owner’s brother, the BBC’s Pauline Linde in the city reports.
They also stole money and cellphones from the businessman.
After this attack, the company owned by the Chinese man sent his wife and children to his home nearby to avoid having them targeted as well.
The head of Goma’s police, Captain Munitayo, and the local commander of the road police, Colonel Rakete, responded to the attack, Radio France Internationale reports.
Congo’s mineral-rich eastern region has for years been the scene of violence, particularly in South Kivu and North Kivu provinces.