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China attaches 'highest importance' to freeing Nigeria abductees

BEIJING, (AFP) China on Saturday ordered its foreign ministry and its embassy in Nigeria to "give all their efforts" to free five Chinese telecommunications workers taken hostage a day earlier in the African nation.

"China's leaders attach the highest importance to this," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement released Saturday.

"President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered the Foreign Ministry and China's embassy in Nigeria to find a way to ensure the lives and safety of the abductees and give all their efforts to save them."

The five workers were abducted in Nigeria's oil-rich yet unrest-plagued southern Niger Delta by unidentified armed men.

No group or individual has yet claimed responsibility.

The Chinese spokesman said relevant Chinese officials were "actively cooperating" with their Nigerian counterparts in the effort to secure the release of the workers.

 

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