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Pakistan Trying to Gain Release of 2 Chinese Hostages - 2004-10-11

The kidnappers of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan are threatening to kill them if their demands are not met. The kidnappers want safe passage with their captives to the mountain hideout of their commander.

The Chinese men were kidnapped Saturday in the South Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan, where Pakistani forces are engaged in operations to kill or capture al-Qaida linked militants.

Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed Admed says negotiations are underway. "We are hopeful that these Chinese engineers will be released soon.

Speaking to VOA by telephone from an unknown location, one of the kidnappers, calling himself commander Abdullah Mehsud, made his threat if the government does not meet his demands Monday.

"I will kill one of them," he said.

Members of the government-sponsored negotiating team say the kidnappers are wearing masks and have explosives strapped to their bodies.

Abdullah Mehsud says if there is an attack or rescue attempt his men will blow up themselves and the Chinese.

The militant commander is a former inmate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where suspected terrorists are being held and questioned.