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China says more than 20 citizens missing after militants attack their worksite in Sudan
BEIJING (AP) ' More than 20 Chinese nationals are missing after militants attacked their remote worksite in a volatile region of Sudan, the Foreign Ministry and embassy said Sunday.
The Foreign Ministry said the militants attacked Saturday and Sudanese forces launched a rescue mission Sunday in coordination with the Chinese embassy in Khartoum. Sudanese forces are also beefing up security for Chinese personnel and projects in Sudan, it said.
China has close political and economic relations with Sudan, especially in the energy sector.
The Foreign Ministry's head of consular affairs met with the Sudanese ambassador in Beijing and "urged him to actively conduct rescue missions under the prerequisite of ensuring the safety of the Chinese personnel," the statement said.
Other details weren't given, although the official Xinhua News Agency cited the state governor as saying the attack was launched by the Sudan People's Liberation Army against a road-building site in South Kordofan.
The Sudan People's Liberation Army are a guerilla force loyal to the southern movement and hail from a minority ethnic group now in control of much of South Sudan, which became the world's newest country only six months ago.
Sudan has accused South Sudan of arming pro-South Sudan groups in South Kordofan. The government of South Sudan has called such accusations a smokescreen intended to justify a future invasion of the South.
China has sent large numbers of workers to potentially unstable regions such as Sudan and last year was forced to send ships and planes to help with the emergency evacuation of 30,000 of its citizens from the fighting in Libya.