At Least 13 Iranian Security Personnel Kidnapped on Pakistan Border

At Least 13 Iranian Security Personnel Kidnapped on Pakistan Border

Tuesday, 16 October, 2018 - 18:30
Iranian border guards. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
At least 13 Iranian security personnel were kidnapped on Tuesday on the border with Pakistan, said state media.

Media reports quoted an unnamed but informed source as saying two of those abducted are members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's intelligence department. The rest include seven members of the Basij force, a volunteer wing of the Guard, as well as regular Iranian border guards.

The Guards said in a statement carried on state television that some of its members had been abducted by a militant group at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The Guards did not say how many were kidnapped, but state news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed official as saying 14 people had been kidnapped around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.

Iranian officials held talks with the Pakistani ambassador in Tehran and called on Islamabad to “use all possible means” to free them.

The Guards said they believed the Iranian forces had been deceived by “insiders”, but did not elaborate. Fars news agency said there were reports Iranian forces had been poisoned by food before being captured and taken to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “Both militaries, under a joint mechanism established since last year, are working to ascertain the whereabouts of Iranian guards.”

Ebrahim Azizi, spokesman for Jaish al-Adl said the group had seized more than 10 people.

“This morning Jaish al-Adl forces attacked a border post in Mirjaveh, and captured all their weapons,” Azizi said in an audio message sent to Reuters.

The group also claimed responsibility on its Twitter account.

Azizi said the attack was retaliation for what he called the Iranian state’s oppression of Sunnis in Sistan-Baluchestan, a mainly Sunni province with a long history of separatist unrest.

Jaish al-Adl kidnapped five Iranian border guards in 2014, releasing four of them two months later after mediation by local clerics.

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