DERA ISMAIL KHAN – The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Tuesday claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Chinese tourist from Dera Ismail Khan.
TTP ‘commander’ in South Waziristan Abdullah Bahar informed media that they kidnapped the Chinese tourist and shifted him to some safe hideout. He said they kidnapped the tourist from district Dera Ismail Khan district for future negotiations with the government of Pakistan for the release of their arrested members.
Earlier, TV channels reported that a Chinese tourist had been kidnapped by unidentified militants from Dera Ismail Khan on Monday afternoon. Police said that the abducted tourist was on his way from Lahore to Quetta when he went missing in Darban area of the district.
The tourist, named Hong Xudong, was traveling on his bicycle and was heading for the southwestern region of Balochistan, usually prohibited for foreigners traveling without security. Police found Hong's bicycle and other belongings from the area and launched a search operation in the region.
According to the police, Hong was kidnapped at about 2:30pm (local time) on Monday but there has been no report of progress in his search so far. Following the incident, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak ordered the police to utilize all resources to ensure an early recovery of the tourist.
The reported kidnapping of the Chinese tourist has not been confirmed by the China Embassy in Islamabad. An embassy official, when approached by Xinhua news service, said that the embassy was contacting the relevant departments to verify the incident.