31 Jan 2012

Chinese nationals still held by rebels

5:28 am on 31 January 2012

China says rebels in Sudan are still holding 29 kidnapped Chinese nationals, contradicting a Sudanese report that 14 of them had been freed.

Xinhua news agency quoted embassy officials in Khartoum as saying all of them were still missing.

Earlier, the army in Sudan said that 14 had been "liberated".

The group was seized by rebels in South Kordofan state, near the border with South Sudan on Saturday.

The BBC reports their plight has attracted hundreds of thousands of online comments in China.

China is the biggest buyer of oil from Sudan.