South Sudan
Tribesmen protect their village from the neighboring Lou Nuer tribe in Southern Sudan

As many as 29 Chinese workers were reportedly missing after a militant attack on their work sites in remote Sudan on Saturday.

Sudanese forces have launched a search and rescue operation in association with the Chinese embassy in Khartoum, the Associated Press reported, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

According to a foreign ministry statement, the head of consular affairs met the Sudanese ambassador in Beijing and urged him to actively intervene to ensure the safety of the Chinese personnel.

The attack was launched by the Sudan People's Liberation Army against a road-building site in South Kordofan, where the Chinese workers were employed, AP cited the official Xinhua News Agency as reporting.

The Sudan People's Liberation Army is a guerrilla force belonging to a minority ethnic group and has allegiance to the South Sudan movement. South Sudan is the world's newest country and became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011 after getting independence from Sudan.

China has close ties with the Sudanese government in the energy and infrastructure sectors.