Rebels in Sudan’s oil-producing border state of South Kordofan said on Sunday they were holding 29 Chinese workers for their own safety after a battle with the army.
The Sudanese army has been fighting since June rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan bordering newly-independent South Sudan.
“We are holding 29 Chinese workers after a battle with the army yesterday,” a spokesman for the SPLM-N said. “They are in good health. We are holding them for their own safety because the army was trying to strike again.”
Nine members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) were also being held, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi of SPLM-N’s, told AFP.
They, along with the Sudanese, were captured on Saturday when the rebels destroyed a Sudanese military convoy between Rashad town and Al-Abbasiya in the northeast of the province, which has been at war since June.
Lodi said the Chinese were working mainly on road construction in the area.
They are being held in the Nuba mountains “until further notice” because of the security situation.
“Today is a little bit calm but we are expecting at any time SAF may launch an attack on us,” he said.
Spokesmen for Sudan’s army and the Chinese embassy could not be immediately reached for comment.