Chinese hostages in Iraq


Misguided headchoppers in Iraq have kidnapped eight Chinese citizens. Xinhua reports:
The eight kidnapped persons are ordinary Chinese citizens who went to Iraq on individual basis to seek jobs by themselves in the country, [Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman] Kong Quan said.

Since they failed to find any work, they rent an automobile to leave Iraq but were kidnapped on the way, he added...

...Sources told Xinhua the Chinese, from China's eastern province of Fujian, were construction workers in a project to rebuild an Iraqi plant in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf...    

...They said the project, signed with Iraq's interim government,has nothing to do with the US-led multinational forces.A video tape aired by the al-Jazeera TV channel on Tuesday showed the eight hostages holding Chinese passports standing in a row, flanked by masked militants.

The pan-Arab channel did not release the text all at once, but part of the statement read out by one militant indicated that the group could free the hostages on condition that they "will quit their work with the occupation forces."

In a handwritten note delivered with the tape, the insurgent group calling itself al-Numan Brigades threatened to "kill the eight within 48 hours" unless China meet their demands.

The Xinhua piece is here.

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