Egyptian Bedouins have kidnapped 25 Chinese factory workers in Sinai and demanded the release of their relatives jailed for a bomb attack.

The Bedouins said they want the authorities to release five of their fellow tribesman, who were jailed between 2004 and 2006 over a bomb attack in 2004 at the Red Sea resort of Taba that killed 31 people.

"We will not release the Chinese until our demand for the release of these sons of Sinai are met," one of the Bedouins told the Egypt Independent newspaper.

Most of the workers are technicians and engineers employed at a Chinese cement factory in Sinai and were on their way to a military-owned cement plant when they were abducted.

The Chinese are now being held in a tent in Lehfen, where protesters have been blocking the highway to northeast Sinai for three days, the Bedouins told AP.

The Bedouins said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has repeatedly promised to release their tribesman.

The council assumed power last year after a popular uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities are now in talks with elder members of the tribe in an effort to resolve the dispute.