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A group of 18 Chinese workers escaped a rebel attack on Saturday in South Kordofan—at the border of the newly independent state of South Sudan. Attempts to free 29 more who were caught in the crossfire continue.
The workers were transported to Khartoum on a chartered plane. They spoke of their experience.
"Our mind was focused on how we could cooperate with the Sudanese army on their rescue operation."
One worker said he escaped by hiding at a mango farm.
The workers are employees of the Sinohydro Corporation. They were working on a $60-million road project funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.
State-run Xinhua News Agency reported 47 Chinese workers were on site when the crossfire happened. While 18 escaped, the Sudanese army rescued 17.
One is still missing while the rebel forces—the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North—captured 29 during the clash.
On Tuesday, a team of Chinese officials arrived in Sudan. The Chinese ambassador to Sudan, Luo Xiaoguang is urging Sudanese authorities to rescue the workers.
[Luo Xiaoguang, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan]:
"As of now, there is no casualty report on the some 20 abducted workers. We are working on it...We urge the Sudanese side to take effective measures to rescue them under the condition of ensuring their safety."
This incident highlights issues encountered by Chinese companies and their employees working in unsafe regions.
The Chinese regime holds major investments in oil and infrastructure in the newly separated Sudan and South Sudan—with over 100 companies and 10-thousand workers in both territories.