x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sudan seeks contact with kidnappers

Authorities are seeking contact with kidnappers of nine Chinese oil workers snatched near the oil district of Abyei.

Sudanese and Chinese authorities were seeking today to contact the kidnappers of nine Chinese oil workers snatched near Sudan's disputed oil district of Abyei. "To now we haven't any information about the kidnappers," China's ambassador to Khartoum Li Chengwen told reporters. "There is no communication between us and the kidnapped or the kidnappers. We are trying to collect new information". The three Chinese engineers and six other workers employed by the China National Petroleum Corporation were seized by armed men yesterday while they were travelling near Heglig, which is not far from Abyei.

Diplomats have said a Sudanese driver was also kidnapped. Heglig lies near the line separating the former warring parties of north and south Sudan, in the Muglad Basin where most of Sudan's proven oil reserves are found. Ali Yousuf, director of protocol at the Sudanese foreign ministry, told reporters yesterday that Sudanese forces were scouring the area of the kidnap, inside the "Block 4" oil field, but "no contact has been made with the kidnappers."

A diplomatic source has said that members of the Arab Messeria tribe carried out the kidnapping because they want a greater share of the region's oil revenue. *AFP