Suspected militants kidnap 35 in NW Pakistan - Police

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PARACHINAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Suspected militants dressed as policemen kidnapped at least 35 people in troubled northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border on Saturday, government and police officials said.

Heavily armed militants first seized a vehicle belonging to the government power utility in the Kurram region and kidnapped four people travelling inside. The vehicle was set on fire.

Shortly afterwards, several vehicles were seized from a convoy of civilians travelling to Parachinar, the main city in Kurram. More than 30 people were taken hostage there.

"The militants were posing as policemen and wearing police uniforms," said Mir Chaman, a senior police official in the nearby town of Thal.

Government officials in Kurram confirmed the incident and said efforts were under way to recover the kidnapped people.

The Pakistani military has mounted offensives against militants in their strongholds in the northwest over the past year, largely clearing several areas, killing hundreds of militants and destroying their bases.

But militants have shown resilience and carried out a wave of suicide and bomb attacks, mainly in the northwest, killing hundreds of people.
 
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