Cairo: Egyptian Bedouins on Tuesday captured 25
Chinese workers in Sinai to demand the release of relatives
detained over bombings in the peninsula between 2004 and 2006,
a security official said.
The Chinese nationals, technicians and engineers who work
for a military-owned cement factory in the Lehfen area of
central Sinai, were abducted on their way to work, the
"The Chinese will not be released until our demands
are met," one Bedouin protester said.
The protesters are demanding the release of five
Bedouins held in connection with an attack on the tourist
resort of Taba in 2004.
They say the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed
Forces, which took power last year when a popular uprising
ousted president Hosni Mubarak, has repeatedly promised to
release the Bedouins.
The Chinese are currently being held in a tent in
Lehfen, where protesters have been blocking the highway to
northeast Sinai for three days, the Bedouins said.
A security official said authorities were in talks
with Bedouin elders to try to resolve the issue.
The major Red Sea beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh,
Taba and Dahab all witnessed bloody attacks between 2004 and
2006 which killed a total of 130 people.
The attacks were claimed by a previously unknown
Islamist group calling itself Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad, and dealt a
major blow to the tourism industry, one of the country`s
highest sources of foreign income.