Gunmen in Pakistan free school hostages

Updated: 2008-01-28 22:09

ISLAMABAD -- The militants who kidnapped around 70 school children in northwestern Pakistan have released the hostages after local administration offered them safe passage, a local official confirmed.

The acting District Coordination Officer (DCO) of Bannu district in North West Frontier Province said that a member of provincial assembly brokered the deal between militants and local administration.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema said the militants had earlier kidnapped an official of the health department and his driver.

Being chased by police, the militants took shelter inside the school and held the students and their teachers hostage, Cheema said, adding that the police later rescued the officer and his driver.

The militants abducted the students at the school in Domail area of Bannu district and threatened to explode themselves and the children if their demand for safe passage was not accepted, local media reported.

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