Six coal miners injured in a gas blast in Harnai
File Photo : A view of coal mine in Balochistan's Mach area where 11 Hazara shia coal miners were killed earlier this year: Photo Quetta Voice

Khyber: Police found remains of 16 coal miners kidnapped a decade ago

News Desk:

Police found remains of 16 coal miners kidnapped a decade ago from Khyber Agency, officials said. The remains of the victims spotted by locals found in a mass grave in the Khyber Agency, police said.

On Sept 9, 2011, as they were working their routine night shift in a coal mine of the Kala Khel area in Khyber Agency, 32 workers were forcibly taken away by armed men. Of these, 16 miners managed to escape over the next months, while the other 16 remained missing.

Miners belonged to  Shangla district

The 32 miners belonged to the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Efforts to trace the abducted workers remained unsuccessful for nearly 10 years until their bodies were found today in a mass grave discovered at Toor Sapawar Pastawana area of KP’s Khyber tribal district.

The captors had refused to release the miners even after payment of ransom.

Kidnappers had demanded Rs. 1.5 million ransom 

Militants had demanded Rs1.5 million for the release of the kidnapped workers and the local committee had agreed to pay the amount but later the kidnappers refused to release the labourers so the money was not paid, a tribal elder said at the time.

“Militants have threatened to kill the kidnapped laborers if the government initiates an operation against them in the region,” he added.

Sarfaraz Khan, a spokesperson for the Shangla Coalmine Workers Association, said they reached Toor Sapawar Pastawana accompanied by political leaders after receiving information about the discovery of a mass grave on Thursday. A rescue operation was subsequently launched as rescuers dug up the grave.

Rescue workers initially recovered the remains of six miners, before finding 10 other bodies.

Khan said the miners appeared to have been killed soon after their abduction; some of their bodies were identified through their clothes, while some were recognizable through their physical features.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.