25 Chinese workers released in Egypt

Feb. 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM
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ARISH, Egypt, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Twenty-five Chinese workers held captive for about 15 hours in Arish in Egypt's Sinai region have been released, a Chinese official said Wednesday.

Ma Jianchun, commercial affairs counselor for the Chinese Embassy in Cairo, said the workers were in good condition and staying in a military facility in Arish, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

"We were worried and nervous after being held by the locals. However, the Chinese Embassy kept contact with us through cell phone text messages and was making efforts to rescue us, which made us feel relieved a lot," a 25-year-old worker identified by his surname Pan told Xinhua.

The workers were taken captive Tuesday as they were riding a bus to a cement factory and taken to a tent. Bedouins had blocked the road for several days, demanding the release of tribe members held by Egyptian authorities for suspected involvement in attacks in South Sinai between 2004 and 2006, in which dozens of people died.

In another kidnapping, a Chinese team arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum Tuesday to help secure the release of 15 of the 29 Chinese workers being held by rebels since an attack on their camp in southern Sudan Saturday. Monday, Sudanese officials said military forces freed 14 of the workers kidnapped in South Kordofan province.

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