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Kidnapped Chinese workers freed in Ethiopia

Seven Chinese oil workers and two Africans were released yesterday by an Ethiopian rebel group that attacked a Chinese oil exploration facility last week.

"We have released the Chinese at 2:00 pm (1630 IST) today to the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)," said Abderahmane Mahdi, the London-based spokesman for the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

One of the civilians released was believed to be Ethiopian, while the nationality of the other African was not immediately known. The rebel group, the ONLF, said all of the Chinese citizens were in good health and had been treated well.

The Ethiopian Information Ministry confirmed their release and again accused arch-foe Eritrea, with whom they have a long-running border dispute, of being behind the raid.