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Security increased for engineers in Pakistan
Updated: 2005-01-07 02:01

Authorities have deployed additional police and paramilitary troops to increase security for Chinese engineers at an oil field and a refinery in a Pakistani tribal region after local tribesmen staged protests to demand jobs, an official said Thursday.

No threats have been made against the Chinese at the oil field in a tribal region near Dera Ghazi Khan, a town about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Multan, said Suleman Chaudhry, the chief of police in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Dozens of tribesmen have been staging the protests for the past several days to press demands for jobs at the oil field in a tribal region neighboring Dera Ghazi Khan, Chaudhry said.

The tribesmen have not been violent and Chaudhry said the additional security forces have been deployed for the Chinese as a precautionary measure.

Security for Chinese engineers at the oil field and a nearby refinery and their residences has been stepped up and more police and paramilitary troops now accompany them when they travel to and from work, Chaudhry said.

China is a neighbor and longtime partner of Pakistan in military and economic cooperation. Hundreds of Chinese nationals are working at various projects in Pakistan.

In October, militants kidnapped two Chinese engineers along with their Pakistani driver and a security guard when they were driving to work.

One of the Chinese was killed while the other was rescued alive in an operation by Pakistani troops. The Pakistanis were freed unharmed.

Pakistani authorities have offered a 5 million rupee ($84,000; euro63,000) reward for help in arresting Abdullah Mehsud, a local militant wanted for masterminding the kidnapping of the Chinese, who were working on a dam in South Waziristan, another tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

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