16 kidnapped from village in Landikotal
LANDIKOTAL: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped 16 persons in the Loe Shalman area in the Landikotal subdivision of Khyber Agency, official and tribal sources said on Friday.
Sources said that dozens of militants forced their way into the hujra (male guesthouse) of one Sultan Shalmani in Samsai village bordering Afghanistan and kidnapped 16 persons at gunpoint.
A villager told The News on condition of anonymity that at least 50 militants, believed to be the Afghan Taliban, crossed the river Kabul near Loe Shalman and entered Samsai village. He said that the militants kidnapped at least 30 persons, mostly drivers and daily wage earners.
Officials of the Landikotal administration, however, confirmed the kidnapping of 16 persons. The kidnapped persons included Bilal Khan, Khumar Khan, Ibrahim, Noor Islam, Bakht Taj, Siraj Khan, Nisar Khan, Zartaj Khan, Kashar Gul, Gul Islam, Bagh Ali, Nisar, Mujahid, Zar Islam, Zarmat Khan and Khan.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. The motive also remains unclear. When contacted, family members of the kidnapped persons said no militant group had contacted them so far. They said the kidnapped persons were not involved in any illegal activity and were the breadwinners of their families.