The Sudanese government says rebels from the country's troubled Darfur province have kidnapped 22 health workers who were administering vaccinations in the region.

Officials said today (Tuesday) the 22 workers were abducted Sunday by rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement. There has been no independent confirmation of the government's claim.

Meanwhile, UN security officers are searching on the ground and by helicopter in Darfur for a separate group of eight missing humanitarian workers employed by international aid groups.

The World Food Program says three of its workers and five from the Sudanese Red Crescent were last heard from on Saturday. All of them are Sudanese nationals.

Sudan's government says those workers were also kidnapped by rebels, although the rebels deny any involvement.