PARIS -- France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, Tuesday condemned the kidnapping of Chinese workers in western Sudan and expressed sorrow for the killing of some kidnappees.
In a statement issued in the name of the EU presidency, the French Foreign Ministry expressed condolences to the victims and sympathy to the victims' families as well as the Chinese government and Chinese people.
It also called for the "prompt and unconditional release of the hostages."
All parties concerned should work to secure the release of the hostages "through peaceful means" and carry out a thorough investigations into the kidnapping and the killing of the hostages, the ministry said.
Nine workers from the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) were kidnapped from an oilfield near the western Sudanese region of Darfur on October 18.
The Chinese Embassy in Khartoum said they were taken by unknown militants in the Southern Kordofan State, but no group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
Sudanese officials earlier reported to the Chinese embassy that five of the nine kidnapped workers were killed on Monday, with two rescued and two missing. It revised the numbers late Tuesday afternoon, saying four were killed, four rescued and the other remained missing.
The Chinese government has expressed strong indignation over and condemnation of the terrorist act of brutally murdering unarmed Chinese company staffers.