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Two Chinese workers killed in Sudan
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 08:31

Two Chinese workers were murdered last weekend on an oil field repair mission in Sudan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

The two employees of Liaohe Oil Field Road Construction Co under CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), did not come back on Friday night and were found dead the next day around noon 30 kilometres from their camp site.

Gunshot and knife wounds were found on their bodies.

Four suspects were arrested, and the case is under investigation, Sudanese Embassy in China told the ministry Tuesday.

The two bodies were found the day before the second of two Chinese workers kidnapped in that country was rescued.

Two Chinese workers were abducted by anti-government militants in Sudan two weeks ago.

Both are expected to arrive in Beijing tonight to meet their families.

"They are basically in good condition, except that one has slight headache after long hours of driving after his rescue last Saturday," Zhang Xiaojuan, administrative director of the Tianjin-based North China Geological Survey Bureau, told China Daily.

Zhang will meet the two workers, who belong to a Sudan-based company under the bureau, at the Capital International Airport at 9 pm, along with their family members.

"We are going to give the two a big break before they are ready to go back to work," said Zhang.

"After all, they must have been suffering a lot and are very tired now."

The two, Li Aijun and Jia Huipeng, were abducted on March 13 while working on a well-digging project at Darfur, 80 kilometres from Buram in the west.

Jia escaped to safety on March 19. Li was released on March 27 after negotiations by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC), as well as the efforts by the Sudanese and Chinese governments.

The two workers tried to escape three times, said the geological survey bureau. One of them made it in their last attempt.

The first time when they were not physically tethered, the two ran away from the militants' camp when the watch man neglected to keep an eye on them. They were sent back to the camp when they ran into a village belonging to the militants' people.

They ran off a second time but were again caught.

This time, they were bound to a tree with shackles and closely watched.

Still, they got a third chance on March 19 when the smaller Jia broke loose. He tried to break Li's shackles with a stone but could not. When the rebels came, Jia ran off, while Li was caught again.

This time Jia got a lucky break.

He met a Sudanese worker he knew and got a ride back to his company's branch office in Nyala.

Jia, 22, reportedly said the rebel army did not treat them too bad.

He and Li got enough food and water during those days.

The rebels even boiled water for them to drink hot tea, said Jia.

Jia said he did not believe the rebels abducted them out of hatred toward the Chinese.

They might be trying to use them to bargain with the Sudanese Government for political advantages, he said.

An official with the Chinese Embassy in Sudan told China Daily the rebels may have abducted the two workers for their own safety.

"The rebels encountered the two Chinese workers after they attacked and looted a local police station," the official said.

Everything the Chinese workers had, including a vehicle and the expensive equipment on it, was returned unconditionally.

In separate incident, a bullet from the crossfire between a rebel army and governmental forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo almost hit a Chinese Embassy member in the capital of Kinshasa on Sunday morning.

The bullet pierced through the glass and curtain of a window and hit the inner wall before it fell on the bed by the pillow. The man was not hurt.

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