Feb. 8 - A group of Chinese workers released 10 days after they were kidnapped by Sudanese rebels arrive in Kenya. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Sudanese rebels released 29 Chinese workers on Tuesday (February 7), ten days after kidnapping them in the main oil-producing state of South Kordofan where the army has been fighting insurgents. The 29 Chinese workers were flown out from Kauda in South Kordofan by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the campaign group and Sudan's foreign ministry said. Chinese state television footage showed the workers arriving later in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The incident has been an embarrassment for the Sudanese government, which is trying to boost investment from China, its main political and trade ally, as it seeks to overcome a severe economic crisis. The rebel SPLM-North group said it had taken the construction workers for their own security after a battle with the Sudanese army in South Kordofan, which borders newly independent South Sudan. But the workers had apparently become caught up in a dispute between Khartoum and rebels who are trying to attract attention to the plight of 417,000 civilians who have fled fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, another Sudanese border state. Khartoum has restricted access for aid workers and the United Nations in both states, triggering warnings by the United States that a famine could break out. The kidnap was the third abduction of Chinese people in Sudan since 2004 and highlighted the risks to China's expansion in Africa in search of minerals and energy. Beijing had faced immense pressure to secure the safe return of the abducted workers. State-owned newspapers called for more protection for China's workers overseas as the world's second-largest economy expands its investments around the globe. The workers were employed by the state-owned Sinohydro Corporation, a hydropower engineering and construction company.