The Balochistan government believes that a Swiss couple, who was kidnapped by unidentified armed men in the province’s Loralai district early this month, has been taken to the Federally Administratively Tribal Areas (Fata).
Provincial home secretary Zafarullah Baloch told The Express Tribune that the Swiss nationals, Divid Oliver Och and Daniela Widmer, had been transported into Fata from Zhob district.
Oliver and Widmer were last seen on July 2 at Minara, some 14 kms from Loralai.
“They are close to the Afghan border but still in Fata,” he said.
“According to our information, there were five people who kidnapped them at gun point,” he said, adding that all the kidnappers were Pushtu-speaking.
“They were last seen in the Tank Frontier Region and near the Jundola tribal region,” Baloch said. “It is yet to be confirmed whether the Swiss couple was kidnapped by Taliban or any other organisation.”
He added though that their department has not yet received any demand for ransom from the kidnappers.
Local militants’ involvement
The Levies and tribal police officials suspect that the Taliban from Fata are responsible for the kidnapping but a home department official said he suspects that local militants are involved. “Such kidnappings are not possible without the involvement of locals,” he added.
“The kidnappers may take them to Afghanistan ultimately,” said another senior official of the provincial home department while speaking to The Express Tribune. “At present, however, they are detained in Fata,” he said.
Foreigners traveled without NOC
No one has taken the responsibility so far nor has the government received any demand by the kidnappers, deputy inspector-general police Loralai Tariq Javed told the The Express Tribune.
He said that the Swiss nationals entered Baluchistan without a proper no-objection certificate from Islamabad – a pre-condition for foreigners visiting Balochistan.
The kidnappers will prefer to talk to the Swiss embassy in Islamabad directly for ransom instead of negotiating with the federal or provincial government, said another police official.
The kidnappers will initially interact with the Swiss authorities even if they have some other demands for the release of the couple, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
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