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Chinese workers freed in Sudan, flown to Kenya

A group of 29 Chinese workers kidnapped by SPLM-N rebels in Sudan have been freed and flown by the Red Cross to Kenya, while the body of one Chinese national killed following the Jan. 28 attack was handed over to embassy officials.

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A group of Chinese workers kidnapped by rebels in Sudan were today freed and flown to Kenya, while new details have emerged about the death of one Chinese national following the attack 11 days ago.

The 29 construction workers, held by Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North rebels, were released to the International Committee of the Red Cross and have flown to Nairobi on a chartered plane. They were to be taken to the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.

Meanwhile, China announced that the body of a worker who went missing after the attack has been found and handed over to Chinese embassy officials. 

More from GlobalPost: Sudan: Chinese worker, missing in rebel attack, found dead

The Chinese workers, said to be employed by a construction firm that is building a road in the area, were caught up in fighting on Jan. 28 between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese army in South Kordofan state. 

SPLM-N rebels abducted 29 of 47 Chinese nationals at the work camp.

The other 18 Chinese workers fled to a nearby mango farm, according to Xinhua, where they were rescued  Jan. 29 by the Sudanese army and moved to a safe location. But one Chinese worker remained unaccounted for.

Xinhua reported today that the worker was injured in the rescue operation launched by the Sudanese army.

"When the workers started to leave the area, the rebels opened fire on them from a long distance and the worker was injured," Xinhua said. "His colleagues tried to rescue him but failed and they were forced to leave him because of the serious security situation at that time.

More from GlobalPost: Chinese workers kidnapped by Sudan rebels in South Kordofan

China had sent a team of officials to Sudan to help with the rescue.

Xinhua said the release of the Chinese workers "followed a stream of intensive rescue efforts carried out by the Chinese government in collaboration with the Sudanese government and other parties."

"This is a casual incident and will not recur," Isam Awad Mutwalli, Director of the Chinese Affairs Department at Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying.

"We reiterate the deeply-rooted Sudan-China ties which are witnessing development in all fields. We pledge to enhance the security measures to protect and secure all the Chinese companies operating in Sudan," he said.

More from GlobalPost: Egypt: Kidnapped Chinese workers released  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120207/chinese-workers-freed-sudan-rebels-south-kordofan