KHYBER AGENCY - As many as 17 local tribesmen were kidnapped by unknown militants from the mountainous area of Enzar Naw in Tehsil Landi Kotal of Khyber Agency on Tuesday.

Families of the kidnapped said that a group of tribal people mostly youth went for a picnic on the mountain on Monday where they were abducted by unidentified armed persons and took them to Afghanistan. The abducted persons were residents of Abdulkhad and Gagra areas of Landi Kotal, sources said.

Walyam Khan, an elder, said that seven members of his family were among the missing persons.

The families were informed by a man who had escaped from the captivity of kidnappers. According to him, a large number of gun-holding militants appeared in the area suddenly and kidnapped the picnickers at gunpoint and took them towards an unknown destination.

Assistant Political Agent Landi Kotal Niaz Muhammad while confirming the incident said that according to the initial report received by the administration, 17 locals were missing and they were striving hard to trace their whereabouts.

A group of security personnel had been dispatched to the area to collect evidence before thrashing out a strategy to retrieve them, security sources said.

The locals regretted that in spite of a number of security checkpoints at all hilly points in the bordering area, the kidnapping of 17 locals was a matter of concern.