Quetta: 8 Customs officials kidnapped
QUETTA: Some infuriated local tribesmen allegedly kidnapped at least eight people, including an additional customs collector and four inspectors, in Qilla Abdullah district on Friday after law enforcement agencies carried out a pre-dawn search operation in the area during which at least two alleged criminals were killed.
Two law enforcers were also wounded in the action, which ended up with the arrest of 17 suspects and seizure of arms from their possession.
According to details, Frontier Corps (FC) and Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) conducted a search operation against criminal gangs near Mezai Adda, a predominately Pashtun populated area, some 140km from Quetta.
During the exchange of fire, two alleged criminals were killed while two security persons received bullet wounds.
According to a Frontier Corps spokesperson, security forces on a tip-off about the presence of a gang involved in kidnappings in the province cordoned off the locality near Mezai Adda for a manhunt. A group of armed men opened fire injuring two security officials. Two alleged criminals were killed when Frontier Corps personnel repulsed the attack. The exchange of fire lasted for several hours, while 17 armed people were also arrested.
The spokesperson said the accused were involved in the kidnapping incidents.
Meanwhile, a levies official said Additional Custom Collector Shahenshah Hussain, four inspectors, a driver and two others were made hostage by angry tribesmen from Mezai Adda soon after the operation in their area. The tribesmen staged a demonstration to protest against the search operation and blocked the international highway for vehicular traffic by placing the dead bodies in the middle of road. Levies official said eight were kidnapped in reaction to the search operation and they were still in the captivity of local tribesmen.
Sources said the deputy commissioner had called a meeting in connection with the kidnapping incident which was being attended by the Frontier Corps and police authorities.
Sources said negotiations were underway with annoyed tribesmen for the safe recovery of hostages.
Like other parts of Balochistan, incidents of kidnapping for ransom and highway robberies are also on the rise on the Quetta-Chaman Highway.