The bodies of nine Chinese victims of an attack on a Chinese oil company in Ethiopia were flown back to their hometown, central China's Henan Province, on Monday morning.
The chartered plane of Air China, carrying nine coffins each covered with white peonies, arrived at about 2:30 a.m. at the Xinzheng International Airport, nearly 40 km southeast of the provincial capital of Zhengzhou.
The Ethiopian government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) informed the Chinese side that the seven Chinese workers have been released and are under protection of the Ethiopian government. The workers are being sent to a safe place and officials of the Chinese embassy to Ethiopia are going to meet them, according to the foreign ministry.
In the attack on the Chinese oil company's premises in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia last Tuesday, seven other Chinese workers were also kidnapped by a group of gunmen of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), who meanwhile killed 65 Ethiopian employees working for the Chinese company.
The kidnappers said "we have released the Chinese at 2:00 pm (1100 GMT) today to the ICRC," Abderahmane Mahdi, the London-based spokesman for the ONLF said.
The ICRC had confirmed the news, saying that the workers had been handed over to them.
"I can confirm that they have been released," an ICRC spokesman told reporters.