Chinese hostages escape Taliban captivity in Pakistan, one recaptured

October 17th, 2008 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanPeshawar, Oct 17 (DPA) Two Chinese engineers kidnapped by Islamic militants in Pakistan’s northwest escaped from captivity Friday but one of them was recaptured by the insurgents, a Taliban spokesman said.The abductees managed to slip away when they were being transported in a vehicle from the Piochar area in the restive Swat district to the neighbouring Dir region in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

They were chased by the Taliban in the wooded mountains and one of them was caught after he received injuries due to a fall, the militants said.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan confirmed the incident, saying he “hoped” that the other escaped Chinese would be caught soon. “The entire region is in our control. Where can he go?” he told DPA on the telephone from an undisclosed location.

The wounded engineer was given medical treatment at a small health unit run by the Taliban and moved to some “safer place,” he added.

The engineers were abducted Aug 29 together with their local driver and a security guard in Dir after repairing a communications tower of the China Mobile Pakistan company.

Four days later, Khan accepted responsibility for their abduction, saying they were taken hostage to avenge the Pakistani government’s constant bombardment and shelling of innocent civilians and their fellow militants in Swat.

Swat valley, formerly a popular tourist destination, has seen increasing violence since 2007 when thousands of troops moved in to quell the armed campaign launched by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah and his followers to enforce Taliban rule in the region.

A brief lull in the violence came earlier this year when the new civilian government opened peace talks with the Swat militants reached a peace agreement with them in April.

However, the accord did not bring about lasting peace in the region, and the government resumed military operations in July.

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