The killing of nine Chinese oil workers, out of a total of 74 people slaughtered, in an attack on a remote oil exploration site in Ethiopia was condemned by Beijing Wednesday, the Financial Times reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao expressed deep sympathies to the families of the victims and said that efforts were being made to secure the release of five Chinese citizens taken hostage in the attack. A group of separatist rebels known as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has claimed responsibility for the massacre. The ONLF has many times warned foreign oil companies to leave territories in eastern Ethiopia that it regards as its own. It doesn't appear that Chinese were singled out in the attack, although an ONLF spokesman was critical of the country, saying the Chinese "are turning into colonialists." China's interest in Africa has rocketed in recent years, largely due to Beijing's ongoing drive to secure energy resources. Ethiopia has little in terms of proven oil and gas reserves but analysts believe there could be gas in the Ogaden region.