Nigerian militants have warned that Chinese officials and business-people will be "treated as thieves" and are on a hit list for future attacks, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
The threat came after the militants in the country's troubled oil-producing region exploded a car bomb late on Saturday, and days after Chinese President Hu Jintao (
"We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to steer well clear of the Niger Delta," said a spokesman for the militant group in an e-mail to news organizations, according to the Post. "Chinese citizens found in oil installations will be treated as thieves. The Chinese government by investing in stolen crude places its citizens in our line of fire."
China came within the militants' cross-hairs after Hu and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo last Wednesday signed a slew of business deals, including one that gives China oil exploration licenses, according to wire reports. The militants' spokesperson also criticized China for grabbing a US$2.2 billion stake in a Niger Delta oil field last year, the Post said.
China has been scouring the globe for new energy sources to sustain its booming economic growth, and has been criticized for cozying up to unsavory regimes to secure oil supplies. A major purpose of Hu's recent travels, which also included a stop in Saudi Arabia, was to cement ties with oil-rich regimes.
In his e-mail, the militants' spokesman said the militants would attack oil workers, storage facilities and other "soft" targets.