Peshawar: 40 police recruits, 7 Khassadars kidnapped
PESHAWAR: Around 40 recruits of the Police Training College (PTC), Hangu were abducted while on their way to the college from here via Khyber Agency, eyewitnesses told The News on Wednesday. Office of the deputy superintendent of police (administration), PTC confirmed that around 50 of their recruits were absent for the day, majority of whom were abducted from Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency.
Officials revealed that recruits making it to PTC Hangu said militants disembarked at least 30 of their colleagues from one passenger vehicle while two to three each were offloaded from at least two other vehicles.
Mangal Bagh, head of the banned Lashkar–e-Islam, who literally rules the Khyber Agency, has denied involvement of his men in the abduction of the recruits and has instead offered cooperation in tracing down the missing recruits.
Maroof Khan Afridi, one of the recruits escaping abduction, told ‘The News’ that more than 50 of his colleagues were travelling to Hangu in three vehicles. Due to closure of Kohat Tunnel on the main Indus Highway, because of the unrest in Darra Adamkhel, the drivers opted for passage through Khyber Agency to reach the training facility, he said, adding that after travelling 10 to 12 kilometres inside Khyber Agency, a land cruiser jeep overtook them and signalled them to stop.
“Some five armed men appeared from the vehicle and asked if there were any Shia community people travelling with us. After we answered them in negative, they allowed us to proceed further,” Afridi told.
He, however, said some 15 to 20 armed militants, who had established a check-post on the road, stopped them just before they were going to enter Kohat district. Upon questioning from the passengers, they came to know that few of them were recruits of PTC Hangu after which the militants offloaded them, he said.
“The militants could not establish my identity because I do not posses my PTC ID card, therefore, they allowed me to proceed along with other passengers,” Afridi added. Rihad Ali, another recruit evading capture by the kidnappers, said some of their colleagues adopted the route via Nizampur of Nowshera district to reach Kohat for onward travel to Hangu.
Rihad Ali said the recruits were travelling in public transport. He said the vehicle he was travelling in, was intercepted by some armed men in Bara area and they were asked to step down. The armed men were looking for Shias, added Rihad.
Assistant sub–inspector (ASI), PTC, Fazle Akbar told ‘The News’ that his roommate, ASI, Muhammad Arif was among those abducted. He said the father of Muhammad Arif was killed in a police operation after which he was offered service in the police department. Akbar said Arif was the only bread earner for his family and appealed the kidnappers to release him. Tehsildar Bara Rehan Khattak, when contacted for comments, said he did not know about any such incident in Bara tehsil.
Our Landikotal correspondent adds: Meanwhile, at least seven Khassadars were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from Ziarey checkpost in Khber Agency on Wednesday.
Sources said the armed men went to the check post and kidnapped Khassadars at gunpoint. The kidnapped persons were identified as Sobedar Nisar Ahmed, Yar Zameen, Aman, Hakeem, Umar, Nazar, Yousaf Dar and Naushad. It was reported that there were two cars parked in the check-post, the gunmen torched one of them while taking away the second one.