LANDI KOTAL: Seventeen Shinwari tribesmen, including a schoolboy, who had been abducted near the Afghan border over five months ago, returned home late Friday evening.
Assistant political agent of Landi Kotal Niaz Mohammad confirmed the recovery of the tribesmen and told Dawn that all of them were in stable condition. They were handed over to their families in Gagra and Dalkhad localities of Landi Kotal, he said.
He, however, declined to share with this reporter as to where the kidnapped tribesmen were received after being released by their captors. “We will share all the details on Saturday,” he said.
A militant group based in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan had earlier claimed responsibility for kidnapping them for ransom.
Afghanistan-based militant group claimed responsibility for kidnapping Landi Kotal residents for ransom
In all, 18 people had gone to a hilly area near the Afghan border for cleaning a natural spring that provided drinking water to their houses when unidentified armed militants surrounded them and took them away on Sept 4, 2017.
One of them, a local watchman, however, managed to dodge his abductors the same night and fled back home bringing along the news about the kidnapping of the 17 tribesmen. One of the captives was a Class VIII student of a private school, situated in Torkham, while most of them were related to one another.
Later, the militant group hailing from the tribal area of Momand and based in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the abduction and demanded a huge amount in ransom for their safe release. Relatives of the hostages managed to meet the militants twice seeking their recovery but in vein.
It could not be immediately ascertained as to how the recovery had been made.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Landi Kotal political administration said the 17 individuals were released with the efforts of intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the political administration.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2018