Four Indians abducted in Sudan, India seeks release

May 15th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Sudanese government has assured India help in securing the release of four Indian workers of an oil company who have been kidnapped in that oil-rich country amid a clash between rival tribes. “Yes, some Indians have been kidnapped. We are trying to find out more details,” a Sudanese embassy official here told IANS.

In Khartoum, India’s Ambassador to Sudan Deepak Vohra confirmed that four Indians have been abducted and every effort was being made to secure their release.

Vohra was hopeful they would be released soon.

“The Indian mission is in touch with the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government has assured us about their help in ensuring the release of abducted Indians,” a source in the external affairs ministry said here.

“No ransom demand has been made,” the source added.

“They were kidnapped in the course of a fight between rival tribes who were claiming a share of the oil wealth,” the Sudanese official said in New Delhi.

They were kidnapped between the Neem and Heglig oil fields in South Kordofan that borders Darfur.

The kidnapped Indians were working for the Greater Nile Petroleum Operation Company (GNPOC), a consortium in which ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of India’s oil major, has invested over $1 billion, making it the largest Indian investment in Africa.

China’s CNPC and Malaysian Petronas also have substantial stakes in the GNPOC.

It is not clear whether the kidnapping of the workers, who were among an abducted group, has anything to do with the ethnic conflict in Darfur or whether it was the handiwork of locals who are unhappy at being deprived by the Sudan government of a share in the oil wealth.

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