Gunmen snatch two senior officials in Pakistan

QUETTA (AFP) - Gunmen snatched two senior government officials after overpowering their subordinates in Pakistan's restive southwest on Thursday, officials said.

The incident happened in Tump town, Kechh district, some 1,000 kilometres southwest of Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich Baluchistan province bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

"The deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner of Kechh district were returning after a meeting with Iranian border officials when they were intercepted by dozens of armed men," provincial home secretary Adil Gilani told AFP.

He said the gunmen overpowered at least 18 staff and security personnel accompanying the two officials and ordered the convoy to follow them.

The gunmen later allowed the staff and security personnel to go but took away the deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner.

Another senior local official Abdul Fateh Bhangar confirmed the incident.

No group has so far claimed responsibility but Baluchistan, one of Pakistan's most unstable provinces, is rife with separatist and Islamist militants and is plagued by sectarian bloodshed.

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