Map showing Balochistan province of Pakistan. – File Photo

QUETTA: Unidentified gunmen on Wednesday kidnapped two women tourists from the Czech Republic in Pakistan's insurgency-hit southwestern province of Balochistan, officials said.

Local government officials said the women entered the province from Iran as tourists and were abducted from an area some 550 kilometres (350 miles) west of Quetta, the main town of Balochistan which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

“Both the women were from Czech Republic and entered in Pakistan as tourists,” Akbar Hussain Durrani, the provincial home secretary told AFP.

“Gunmen stopped their bus in the Nok Kundi area of Chaghi district and abducted both of them.” Durrani said women were being escorted by a tribal policeman when they were abducted. The guard was also taken captive but was later freed.

Nobody from the Czech embassy was available to comment late Wednesday but Qambar Dashti, a senior government official in Quetta confirmed the incident.

Kidnappings plague parts of Balochistan and northwest Pakistan, where criminals looking for ransom snatch foreigners and locals, sometimes passing their hostages on to Taliban and al Qaeda-linked groups.

Balochistan has been hit by an insurgency in recent years with Baloch nationalists demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the province's wealth of natural oil, gas and mineral resources.

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