Chinese oil workers attacked by gunmen in South Kordofan
October 4, 2011 (AFP)
One Chinese oil worker was killed and another wounded by unidentified gunmen in an attack last Wednesday in South Kordofan.
"There was a violent incident against Chinese workers by unidentified armed men, which caused one death and one wounded," said a Chinese embassy spokesperson.
He said the embassy had raised its concerns with the Sudanese government, urging action to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals.
South Kordofan has witnessed heavy fighting since June between the Sudanese army and Nuba militiamen loyal to the SPLM-North, with which Darfur's main rebels movements have formed an alliance aimed at toppling the regime in Sudan.
A leader of the local Misseriya tribe said criminals had carried out the attack on the Chinese workers, as they were travelling on the road between the town of Kielak and Heglig, one of Sudan's main oil fields.
"They stole some money and some vehicles from the oil company and disappeared into the mountains," Omar al-Ansari said.
State-owned Chinese oil giant CNPC dominates the Sudanese industry and operates the two main oil producing consortiums, one of which is based at Heglig. This was not the first time its employees have been targeted in the volatile, ethnically-divided state, which borders Darfur and the newly independent South Sudan.
Five Chinese oil workers were killed in 2008 after being abducted in the Kordofan region in 2008, with officials in Khartoum blaming Darfur rebels.
The latest attack is a blow for the cash-strapped government, which is urgently seeking foreign investment to boost its crude output to help offset the loss of oil revenues after the formal independence of South Sudan in July.
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