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Bodies of slain workers brought home
By Qin Yuding (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-14 21:17

The bodies of 11 Chinese workers killed in an attack in Afghanistan last Thursday were brought home late Monday night.

A ceremony was held in the airport in Nanchang when a special plane of People's Liberation Army Force landed.

Ten of the 11 workers killed were from Nanchang, capital of East China's Jiangxi Province. The other victim is from Shandong Province.

An Afghan guard of honour carries a coffin of a Chinese road worker who was killed in Afghanistan to a plane at Kabul International Airport June 14, 2004. [Reuters]

All the bodies will be cremated in Jiangxi Province, said Li Peishan an official with the China Railway Shisiju Group Corporation (CRSGC), the company that employed the men to work on road construction in Afghanistan.

CRSGC's headquarters is in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province.

Another Chinese airplane that carries the four wounded workers took off from Kabul at 12:30 pm, according to Li.

The airplane, a Boeing 757 chartered by Chinese Railway Construction Company arrived at Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province later Monday.

The injured, all in a stable condition and accompanied by two Chinese doctors, were transferred immediately to Shandong Shengli Hospital for further treatment.

The Afghan Government posted a reward of 500,000 Afghani (US$11,600) for any clues that will help capture the gunmen involved in the brutal killing.

Ten suspects have already been arrested, said a local official source.

The injured workers received 10,000 yuan (US$1,209) from a Shandong based company.

Details of further compensation from the Afghan Government are still in the works, said Li.

New terror network attacked Chinese workers

The military commander of northeastern Afghanistan said a new terrorist network of 14 gunmen were involved in the Thursday attack that killed 11 Chinese construction workers and wounded four others in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan.

An Afghan police officer inspects the scene where Chinese railway workers were gunned down in their sleep by unknown attackers in Had Bakhshi of northern Afghanistan June 10, 2004. Eleven Chinese workers died and four were injured. It was the worst attack on foreigners since the fall of the Taliban regime. [AFP]
Lieutenant General Mohammad Daud said two more suspects were arrested on Saturday. Two others were arrested on Friday. Meanwhile, six more were netted yesterday, bringing the total of detainees to 10.

The men "are all from Baghlan Province," Xinhua reported.

"These people in the past belonged to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party, and they later joined the Taliban," he said.

However, shortly after the tragedy, the Taliban denied participation.

The general said a new terrorist network planned the brutal killings.

"They came in two vehicles and escaped after the attacks," he said.

Daud said more soldiers, as many as the Chinese need, would be sent to ensure the construction workers' safety and security.

However, he could not give any more details since the investigation is ongoing.

A 14-member emergency group led by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) leaders, the company that employed the workers killed, arrived in Kabul on Saturday to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

CRCC Deputy President Li Guorui said his company will not retreat or bow to terrorists and the construction work will go on but security for the road construction workers must be beefed up.

The injured workers are in stable condition at hospital. The remaining workers are now back to Kunduz. They can choose to stay in Afghanistan to work or return to China.

According to sources with CRCC, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force will arrange two special planes to bring back the bodies of 11 dead workers and the injured today.

The plane with bodies will take off from Urumuqi, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and return to Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi Province, the hometown of the 10 victims.

The injured will be sent to Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province for better treatment.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent a working group to Afghanistan on Saturday to work with the Afghan Government and UN agencies in Afghanistan.

CRCC has also dispatched teams to the victim's hometowns, Jiangxi and Shandong provinces.

Each family of the 11 dead received 3,000 yuan(US$361) as the first batch of pension payments while the five injured got 2,000 yuan (US$242).

Further compensation is in the works.

Some 3,000 people in the capital of Takhar, an old Taliban stronghold, that neighbours Kunduz province, took part in a demonstration over the weekend to show their support for the Chinese.


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