QUETTA: Security forces, engaged in a search operation to rescue six abducted football players, arrested seven suspects in connection with the kidnapping incident on Sunday.

The six football players were abducted by unknown armed men in the Kachhi canal area of Sui Tehsil of Dera Bugti district, while they were en route to Sibi to participate in the qualifying round of the All Pakistan Chief Minister Gold Cup Football tournament.

They were travelling with other members of the Dera Bugti district football team when they were kidnapped by armed men in the Jani Pedi area of Sui Tehsil.

Sources said that around 24 players were on their way to Sibi when a group of armed men intercepted their vehicle and took them away at gunpoint. However, later, kidnappers released 18 players but kept six, all of whom were from Dera Bugti and Sui areas, sources added.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti and Balochistan’s Home Minister retired captain Zubair Ahmed Jamali took serious notice of the kidnapping and directed concerned officials to launch a search operation for the immediate recovery of the abducted footballers.

Officials said that a massive search operation was ongoing in the area, with security forces cordoned off the area and detained seven suspects for interrogation.

“Security forces are conducting searches in the areas along the Sindh and Punjab borders,” officials said, adding that all possible efforts were being made for the recovery of the abducted players.

Mr Bugti assured that the abducted players would be recovered soon, and all security agencies had been instructed to ensure their safe return, utilising all available resources.

“Those involved in the kidnapping of innocent football players will face the full consequences of their terrorist actions,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2023

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