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Pakistan: Chinese Hostage Killed in Rescue Mission - 2004-10-14

Security forces in Pakistan killed five kidnappers as they tried to rescue two Chinese engineers. Officials say one of the hostages died during the rescue while his companion received minor injuries.

Militants linked to the al-Qaida terror network kidnapped the two Chinese engineers, Wang Ende and Wang Peng, on Saturday in the border region of South Waziristan, where they were working on a dam project.

Pakistani authorities surrounded the militants' compound, where the Chinese were being held. Local tribal elders talked to the kidnappers on behalf of the government to try to secure the hostage's release.

But military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan says the talks were continuing when security forces heard firing from within the kidnappers' compound. "Thinking that the abductors were using violence against the Chinese engineers, the security forces stormed the compound," he said. "All five abductors were killed. One Chinese engineer is absolutely safe."

Two Pakistani nationals held with the Chinese were freed unharmed.

Officials say that identities of the kidnappers have not yet been determined. Some reports say three Islamic militants from Uzbekistan were among them.

The Islamic militants were demanding an end to the anti-terrorism military operations in the mountainous region, where scores of al-Qaida suspects are believed to have taken shelter after fleeing the U.S led-hunt across the border in Afghanistan.

A rebel tribal commander, Abdullah Mehsud, allegedly ordered the kidnapping. The suspected al-Qaida militant is a former inmate of the U.S military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He was released in March after more than two years of detention in the U.S-controlled facility.