Sudanese rebels say they are holding nearly 30 Chinese workers following a battle with Sudan's army in the state of South Kordofan, which borders newly independent South Sudan.

A rebel spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North says 29 Chinese are being held for their own safety and are in good health.

The rebels say they captured the Chinese workers on Saturday after a battle with Sudanese government troops.

The two sides have been fighting since June.

The Sudanese army has not commented on the reported incident.

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