Egypt: Kidnapped Chinese workers released

All 25 Chinese cement factory workers kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai peninsula were freed early today. 

The Chinese workers had been captured Tuesday by Bedouin tribesmen who blockaded a road and were demanding the release of their relatives, in prison for the 2004 bomb attack at a Red Sea resort that killed 31 people.

The workers, mostly technicians and engineers, were freed in Arish, North Sinai, at around 3 a.m. local time, and are in good health, Ma Jianchun, commercial affairs counselor at the Chinese embassy in Cairo told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"The Egyptian government attached great importance to the matter. Its military leaders urged local authorities to take good care of the freed Chinese workers," Ma said.

More from GlobalPost: Chinese workers kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai region by Bedouin tribesmen

The Chinese nationals were traveling to an Egyptian military-owned cement factory in the Lehfen area of northern Egypt, returning from Chinese New Year holidays, when gunmen stopped their bus. The workers were then taken to a nearby tent.

Xinhua quoted a 25-year-old worker with the surname Pan as saying the men were not harmed during their 15-hour ordeal.

"We were worried and nervous after being held by the locals. However, the Chinese embassy kept contact with us through cell phone text messages and was making efforts to rescue us, which made us feel relieved a lot," the worker told Xinhua.

The Chinese nationals are now being held in Egyptian army accommodation.

More from GlobalPost: Chinese workers kidnapped by Sudan rebels in South Kordofan

The kidnapping in Egypt happened just days after a group of 29 Chinese construction workers were captured by rebels in Sudan's volatile South Kordofan state.

The Chinese workers in South Kordofan were building a road when their camp was attacked late Saturday by Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North rebels during fighting between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese army.

Xinhua said Tuesday that a working group has been sent to Sudan to help rescue the Chinese nationals.

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