Insurgents released a video Tuesday showing eight Chinese workers held hostage by gunmen who claim the men are employed by a construction company working with U.S. troops, in the latest abduction of foreigners in Iraq.
China's government confirmed the kidnappings, and the Foreign Ministry said it was "taking all measures to rescue the hostages," the official Xinhua News Agency (search) said. The eight men from China's Fujian province (search) went missing last week while traveling to Jordan, Xinhua said.
The Chinese Embassy in Baghdad pledged that the Chinese government would spare no effort to secure the hostages' freedom, Xinhua said.
Embassy diplomats said they were making all efforts to rescue the
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the eight hostages were ordinary Chinese citizens who went to Iraq individually seeking employment. He said they failed to find work and were leaving Iraq in a rental car when they were kidnapped.
But Xinhua reported that the men were construction workers helping to rebuild a plant in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf.
In the video, delivered to various news organizations, the eight men appear in front of a small mud brick building and display their passports for the camera. The men are flanked by two gunmen with headscarves wrapped around their faces.
In a handwritten note delivered with the tape, an insurgent group calling itself the al-Numan Brigades said it abducted the men as they were on their way out of the country.
"After interrogation, we found that they are working for a Chinese construction company that is working inside American sites in Iraq," the note said.
The note indicated the group might release the hostages because China did not participate in the war.
"The movement decided to free these Chinese soon on condition that they will not go back to their work with the occupation forces. And we hope the Chinese company will not deal with these forces," the message said.
Insurgents have repeatedly kidnapped foreigners in Iraq.