Six killed as Taliban abduct Hungarian oil company employees


Islamabad : Six people were killed Thursday when suspected Taliban militants ambushed a convoy of a Hungarian oil company in Pakistan’s northwestern region, security officials said.

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The incident took place in the Kohat district of the militancy-plagued northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khalid Omarzai, the top civil administrator in Kohat, told DPA by phone that four employees of the Hungarian oil company, MOLE, were travelling from Kohat to Peshawar, the provincial capital, when an unknown number of attackers struck.

“One driver and one labourer from the MOLE company were killed while … two engineers were abducted,” said Omarzai. The soldiers from paramilitary Frontier Corpse chased the attackers and, during an exchange of fire, four troops were killed.

The two abducted engineers were Pakistani nationals.

An intelligence official, however, said that the four soldiers were killed during the ambush, not during a chase.

“There were two vehicles in the convoy. One was carrying the oil company employees and the other the FC soldiers. The attackers attacked both. There was no chase,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The abductors apparently fled to the nearby tribal region,” the intelligence official said. Pakistan’s mountainous tribal region bordering Afghanistan is a regular sanctuary for Taliban and Al Qaeda militants.

Taliban or criminal gangs linked with Taliban are believed to be involved in the abduction of hundreds of abductions across Pakistan for ransom, one of the main sources, among others, of funding for the ongoing insurgency in Pakistan.

A Polish geologist, Piotr Stanczak, was abducted and later executed in mid-2009 after the Pakistani and Polish government failed to pay ransom and release some Taliban militant detainees.