Angolans in ‘mafia’ attacks on Chinese
ANGOLAN gangs are targeting Chinese workers in “mafia-style” attacks, spreading fear among the Chinese community in Luanda, a construction boss said yesterday.
A string of gang robberies has targeted Chinese companies and housing compounds in recent months, said Eddie Zhang, head of Shanghai Urban Construction Group, the company building Luanda’s new football stadium for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
“These are not just normal robberies… They are planned, like mafia-style attacks. The gangs go first to inspect premises and then they go back with AK-47s.”
Zhang said he had warned his workers to take extra care.
“We have a lot of security at the site and also I think that Angolans know how important this project is for the country.
“But elsewhere things are getting bad and people are talking about wanting to go back home.”
He added that the Chinese embassy had advised nationals against going out alone at night.
More than 40 000 Chinese work in Angola, around 90 percent on construction sites.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Luanda said that they were aware of attacks on Chinese nationals and were working with Angolan authorities to resolve the problem.
Xu Ning, the head of the Chinese Business Council in Luanda, said Chinese living in Angola were increasingly afraid.
“Things have become worse in the last few months. Just last night someone I was due to have dinner with did not turn up because he had been robbed.
“And last week a man was shot dead in Viana. He had been working here for a year and was due to leave, so had all his year’s salary in his rucksack when he was approached by an armed gang,” Ning said.
Chinese companies have several key post-war reconstruction contracts, including for new roads, airports, and government buildings, as well as four 2010 stadiums. Chinese credit lines to Angola are believed to exceed R37 billion. – Sapa-AFP