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Two Chinese kidnapped by gunmen in Cairo were freed

Two Chinese abducted in Cairo on Thursday by gunmen demanding a ransom were released after a few hours, said an official of the Chinese Embassy, an incident that illustrates the growing insecurity in Egypt since the revolt last year.

“They are free,” said the spokesman of the embassy, Lu Jingchun, without specifying the conditions of release.

Another embassy official had earlier said that two Chinese workers were kidnapped by gunmen Thursday morning in Cairo.

“They want money,” he had said, adding that the two Chinese worked in a plant for the manufacture of building materials, mainly of marble.

According to Xinhua news agency, they were abducted in the district of Maadi, a suburb south of Cairo, as they left their homes for their work.

Agency quoted Chen Jiannan, vice president of the Chinese People’s Association in Egypt, said the ransom was 500,000 Egyptian pounds (more than 60,000 euros).

According to security sources, this is the first time that foreigners were abducted in the capital for money.

Recently, several foreigners were shortly held hostage in the Sinai by Bedouins demanding the release of jailed relatives.

Twenty-five Chinese working in a cement factory have been abducted Jan. 31 by Bedouins requiring five of their prisoners, arrested in connection with the attacks on the peninsula between 2004 and 2006. Those Chinese had been released after several hours of detention.

Since the revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, Egypt has experienced sporadic violence, sometimes deadly, coupled with an increase of crime.

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