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Nine Chinese Oil Workers Kidnapped in Sudan


Sudanese authorities say unidentified gunmen have abducted nine Chinese oil workers in central Sudan.

They say the workers were seized Saturday in Sudan's oil district of Abyei in South Kordofan state.

A diplomatic source said two Sudanese drivers were also taken, but that one of them was released and informed authorities.

It was the third attack on Chinese interests over the past 12 months in the African country.

Sudanese government officials blame a Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, for the kidnapping, but diplomats say the captors were probably local tribesmen.

The Chinese embassy in Sudan said Sunday it has little information on the circumstances of the kidnapping, but that it is doing all it can to find the missing Chinese nationals.

South Kordofan lies in Sudan's central Nuba Mountains region, near the country's contested north-south border.

Last year, rebels from Sudan's Darfur region attacked two Chinese-operated oil fields in Kordofan. The rebel Justice and Equality Movement accused China of indirectly funding the Sudanese government's war effort in Darfur through investment in Sudan's oil industry.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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