Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

China condemns Sudan oil killings


China has condemned the killing of five of its citizens in Sudan, calling it as a terrorist act, but said it would continue to invest in the country.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu urged the Sudanese government to do all it could to protect Chinese residents and property.

The five were among nine Chinese oil workers seized in Kordofan, near the region of Darfur, more than a week ago.

Two others are thought to have escaped, and two are still being held captive.

China is a key purchaser of Sudanese oil and has been investing heavily in the country.

The BBC's correspondent in Beijing, Quentin Somerville, says the oil and arms deals have attracted widespread criticism for contributing to oppression in Sudan.

Darfur rebels blamed

The five Chinese oil workers were killed during a rescue attempt by the Sudanese authorities.

Sudan has blamed the kidnappings on the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel organisation.

JEM says it has forces in the area but was not involved in seizing the Chinese.

The kidnappers later released a local driver seized at the same time as the Chinese, with a note saying they wanted a share in the region's oil wealth.

It is the third time in the last year that oil workers have been abducted in the energy-rich region.

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