KHARTOUM: Armed men have kidnapped four Chinese nationals and five Sudanese workers engaged in road construction in Sudan's strife-ridden Darfur region, the official SUNA news agency reported on Monday.
The attackers abducted the men and seized their vehicles on Saturday as they were finishing their work for the day, the report said, without naming the construction company nor indicating who was behind the kidnapping.
Recent years have seen a wave of kidnappings for ransom in Darfur, where ethnic rebels a decade ago began an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.
Although violence is down from its peak, villages have been razed and rebel-government fighting, banditry, inter-Arab and tribal disputes continue to afflict the region, in Sudan's far west.
Early last year, rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) abducted a group of 29 Chinese workers in southern Sudan.
The captives, who were involved in a road-building project in South Kordofan state, were abducted on January 28, 2011 when the SPLM-N destroyed a Sudanese military convoy between Rashad town and Al-Abbasiya and took over the area.
They were released unharmed after 11 days.
China is Sudan's major trading partner, the largest buyer of Sudanese oil and a key military supplier to the Khartoum regime.