LANDI KOTAL (Khyber Agency), Oct 2: Tribal mediators on Sunday helped customs officials recover a large quantity of Afghan coins which were stolen from a container at Torkham on Sept 28.

The owner of the container has handed over wooden crates full of coins to officials of the customs department and representatives of custom clearing agencies operating in Torkham. The recovery was made possible when the mediators assured the container’s owner Mumtaz Khan that he would not be handed over to the authorities.

The customs officials could not take any legal action against the culprits despite the registration of an FIR as the tribal areas do not fall under their jurisdiction. So they decided to turn to tribal mediators for help.

The authorities in Landi Kotal, with the assistance of Torkham custom officials, arranged a truck for the stolen money to be transported to Peshawar after Mumtaz Khan agreed to hand over the stolen coins. The deputy superintendent of customs in Torkham, Haider Zaman, along with three customs police sepoys, accompanied the truck.

Over the last two days, the authorities have put increased pressure by sending a khassadar party to the Mumtaz Khan’s house. He was given a warning that his house would be placed under siege and his co-tribesmen would be taken into custody under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crime Regulations if he continued to defy officials and did not return the money.

Confirming the handing over of the stolen money, customs officials said that 40 out of the 68 missing crates had been returned. He said that all the crates had been tampered with and broken. The crates will be opened on Monday in front of the Afghan officials in Peshawar and the recovered money will be counted.

The line officer, Landi Kotal Hikmat Khan, also confirmed the recovery as he was assigned the duty of providing escort to the vehicles taking the recovered money to Peshawar.