Police arrested two members of a kidnapping ring – a man and his sister – in Swabi on Friday.
City police official Fayaz Khan said multiple complaints had already been registered by people in surrounding villages informing police about the siblings abducting teenage boys, and then demanding ransom from their families.
Khan said the girl, identified as Shazma, would befriend a boy and ask him to meet her at a specific place, where she along with a gang would thrash and kidnap the victim. Later, they would demand ransom from the family for releasing the abducted boy.
Acting on an intelligence tip-off, the police arrested the girl and her brother Sadaam Khan during a raid at a house in Maneri, Swabi, shared the official.
Another police official, Khalid Iqbal told The Express Tribune police also recovered an Afghan citizen, identified as Rahmatullah, during the raid.
He added Rahmat revealed the extent of elaborate planning that the gang had engaged in before kidnapping him.
Rahmat narrated that Shazma phoned him around a week ago and asked him to become her friend – an offer he accepted. Later, the girl asked him to meet her at Gohati, he added.
Rahmat accompanied by his friend Syed Muhammad reached the location to meet Shazma, but was surprised when a gang of five men waiting at a deserted house grabbed them, beat them up, and snatched their motorcycle.
The abductors demanded a collective ransom of Rs1 million from their families, after which Syed was released to arrange the funds. He came back with Rs200,000, promising Shazma that he would return with the remaining amount soon.
According to police official Iqbal, the gang then shifted Rahmat to their house in Maneri. Meanwhile, Syed lodged a complaint with the police who raided the house, apprehended the siblings and recovered Rahmat.
The police also recovered multiple mobile phones which Shazma had allegedly used to woo teenage boys.
During investigation, the accused confessed to having kidnapped several other boys in a similar manner. The culprits also revealed that they were provided protection by proclaimed offender Chaman Bahadur, who is the brother of Wisal Bahadur, who himself is said to be backed by an influential political leader of the area.
Iqbal said no one had raised a voice against the kidnappings because the culprits had the politician’s backing. He added a case has been registered against the siblings, along with four others members of the gang, while further investigation is under way.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2014.
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