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120 Pak soldiers abducted

world Updated: Sep 01, 2007 02:27 IST

Efforts are underway to secure the release of over 120 Pakistani soldiers abducted by Islamic militants near the Afghan border, with a delegation of tribal elders, clerics and parliamentarians heading to the region to hold talks with the kidnappers.

The paramilitary soldiers from Frontier Corps were travelling in 16 vehicles when the armed militants kidnapped them in South Waziristan tribal agency on Thursday, local media reports said

The soldiers were moving from Wana, the centre of South Waziristan, to Ladha, a town in the region, when they were seized by the militants, the reports said.

Army spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad did not confirm the reports of their abduction but admitted that the soldiers did not reach their destination on Thursday.

A government officer in Waziristan region, Khayesta Rehman, said that a 15-member delegation of tribal elders, parliamentarians and religious clerics will hold talks with the militants to secure the release of the soldiers.

Senator Saleh Shah, a member of the delegation, said that a military helicopter was carrying them to the region but it landed on its way because of bad weather.

Zulfikar Mehsood, a spokesman for the militants, was quoted as saying by the media that the soldiers were planning a major operation against them and that was why they were held hostage.