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28-10-08, 00:00
Sudan: Kidnappers kill 5 Chinese oil workers


By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press Writer – Mon Oct 27, 8:35 pm ET
Five kidnapped Chinese killed: Sudan government AFP/File – Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq speaks to reporters following a meeting with China's …

KHARTOUM, Sudan – Kidnappers who abducted nine Chinese oil workers killed five of them execution-style on Monday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Two other abducted workers managed to flee, while two remain in captivity, ministry spokesman Ali Sadiq said.

The ministry said in a statement that security forces were deployed in the area where the kidnapping occurred. No further details were provided on the killings, including how the government learned of them.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment when contacted Tuesday morning. Chinese diplomats in Khartoum were not reachable for comments.

The nine Chinese were abducted on October 18 while traveling in the southwestern oil-rich region of Kordofan near an oil field.

Sudan's government has blamed rebels from the adjacent, war-torn region of Darfur for the kidnapping, but a spokesman for the group on Monday denied involvement.

Sadiq said that by slaying the hostages, the kidnappers were apparently going ahead with their threats to drive Chinese interests from Sudan. He said Monday's killing came "without provocation."

"It was execution-style," he said. "Two others (of the kidnapped Chinese) were injured and ran away. They were then taken in by the authorities. Two others are still with the kidnappers."

Sadiq stressed that no clashes occurred and the ministry said tribal chiefs in the area had been negotiating with the kidnappers to resolve the issue.

Still, Sadiq maintained the kidnappers took directives from Darfur rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement. They had demanded a share of the oil wealth through jobs.

But JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein told The Associated Press that his group had "nothing to do with this incident."

This was the third attack on Chinese targets over the past 12 months. Last year, JEM rebels attacked a Chinese oil field in Sudan and kidnapped two foreign workers, giving at the time Chinese and other oil companies a week to leave the country. The kidnapped were released unharmed.

China, which buys nearly two-thirds of Sudan's oil, has been criticized by rebel groups and international human rights watchdogs for its close ties with Khartoum. Both say China's massive investments in Sudan's oil sector help the government in its fight in Darfur, where as many as 300,000 were killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes since 2003.

A tribal leader from the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, identified the kidnappers as Arab gunmen, some of whom were linked to the government during the 21-year old north-south war that ended in 2005. He said the kidnappers say they've been neglected by the government. There was no way to verify the claim. The south-north war is separate from the conflict in Darfur.

Jerry Fowler, the president of the New York-based Save Darfur Coalition condemned Monday's killings and urged that those responsible be brought to justice.


Associated Press Writers Hadeel al-Shalchi in Cairo, Egypt, and Mohamed Osman in Khartoum contributed to this report.