29 Chinese Workers Still Held in Sudan, One Missing


None of the 29 Chinese construction workers held by rebels in the South Kordofan region of Sudan have been released, the China Daily quoted an embassy official as saying Monday, denying Sudanese reports that 14 had been freed.

The Sudanese army found 17 workers, from the original group of 47, and transferred them to safety, the newspaper said. One Chinese worker remains missing, it added.

An official of Chinese embassy in Sudan flew to El Obeid of the state of North Kurdufan to pick up the 17 workers who escaped from Saturday’s attack between the rebels and government forces, accompanied by reporters and representatives from a Chinese company who employs the 47 workers in a road project.

The workers had evacuated to a town 18 km away from the company’s compound on Friday, before moving back the next morning when a Sudanese employee told them “the (rebels’) conspiracy has been smashed,” Han Zhangliang, a project manager of the company, told reporters from People’s Daily.

The guns started barking again in less than one hour, and lasted for about half an hour. The rebels then sacked the Chinese workers, who thought the fight was over and showed up, and only 18 successfully escaped, according to Han.

“We hided together in the nearby grove,” and “one of us unfortunately got shot by bullet and is still missing,” said Han.

The plane with the 18 workers on board returned to Khartoum on the afternoon Monday while the four-person panel from the Chinese embassy would remain in El Obeid joining the rescue effort of the 29 workers with Sudanese army, the People’s Daily said.