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‘Without ransom’: Baloch insurgents free govt officials, guards

By Qaiser Butt

ISLAMABAD: Eleven senior administration officials and their paramilitary Levies guards who were kidnapped by Baloch insurgents in Kech district between late Thursday and early Friday have been freed by their captors, the Balochistan government’s spokesperson said on Saturday.

Surprisingly, unlike the past, the government did not claim credit for the release of Abdul Hameed Abro, the deputy commissioner of Kech, Naeem Ghichki, the assistant commissioner of Dasht, Hussain Jan, the tehsildar of Tump, and eight other administration officials.

Abro, Hussain Jan and their two dozen Levies guards were seized on Thursday, while Assistant Commissioner Naeem Ghichki, Naib Tehsildar of Buleda Rafiq Ahmed, Tehsildar of Dasht Khadan Ahmed Ali, Naib Risaldar of Levies Force Bisham Baloch, Sepoy Levies Force Jamil Ahmed and one tribal elder were kidnapped on Friday when they travelled to the area to negotiate the release of the officials abducted earlier.

The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) had claimed responsibility for the mass abductions. The government spokesperson said the captors released all the officials on their own, albeit the government had initiated contacts with the BLF for this purpose.

“The deputy commissioner and tehsildar were released in the afternoon while the others were freed in the evening,” Jan Buledi told The Express Tribune. “Neither any ransom was paid nor any deal struck with the insurgents,” he added.

Buledi said the provincial chief secretary, home secretary and principal secretary to the chief minister travelled to Kech on Saturday to negotiate with the captors. The militants, however, freed two officials before the senior bureaucrats could reach Kech.