Five Chinese workers were kidnapped in Nigeria's oil-rich and volatile southern state of Rivers early on Friday morning.
A source in the Chinese embassy in the capital city of Abuja said the victims were from a Chinese telecom company and that armed kidnappers also stole property worth thousands of US dollars.
Li, an official with the consular department, told China Daily that a group of six people were working on an electricity project when they were attacked by the gunmen around 5 AM.
One worker managed to hide from the kidnappers and escape.
Li said the Chinese Foreign Ministry and his embassy had launched emergency action to rescue the kidnapped workers.
He said the ambassador and embassy staff, as well as the employer of the kidnapped workers, were in contact with the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, the local government and local police to secure their release.
No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping so far, but Li said the perpetrators were expected to seek a ransom.
Armed robbery and abductions for ransom are common in the oil-producing state of Rivers in Niger Delta.
Li said abductors taking Chinese nationals as hostages tend to seek a ransom rather than pressing political demands.
This is the first abduction of workers from a Chinese enterprise in the region, he said.
(China Daily January 6, 2007)