Pakistan confirms the deaths of abducted Chinese

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Pakistan yesterday confirmed the death of two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in Quetta, months after the Islamic State group claimed that it had killed them.
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Pakistan yesterday confirmed the death of two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped in the southwestern city of Quetta, months after the Islamic State group claimed that it had killed them.

The pair, a man and a woman, were abducted in May from the city, the capital of Balochistan Province, which is at the heart of a multi-million dollar investment by China in Pakistan but is also wracked by militancy.

They were dragged into a car by three unknown men, witnesses said, adding that another Chinese woman managed to escape.

In June, the Islamic State group claimed that it had killed them, but there had been no confirmation of their deaths from Pakistani or Chinese authorities.

“The DNA reports have confirmed that the two persons killed in Balochistan in June 2017 were the same two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped from Quetta in May, 2017,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.

It did not give further details on when or how their bodies were recovered. In September some local media reports suggested the bodies of two Chinese people had been found in Balochistan.

Authorities originally said the pair were studying Urdu at a local language center, but Pakistan’s interior ministry later said that they had been teaching in Quetta.

The statement said the government of Pakistan expressed its deep shock and grief at what it called a brutal act of terrorism, and extended condolences to the government and people of China and sympathies to the families of the victims.

“The government of Pakistan would continue to conduct a thorough investigation to apprehend the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice,” the statement said.

It said Pakistan strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms. 

“We are grateful to the government of China for its strong support for our fight against the menace of terrorism,” the foreign ministry said.

It said Pakistan would continue to work with China and the international community to enhance counterterrorism cooperation as well as regional and global peace and security.

Hundreds of Chinese nationals started to pour into Pakistan after China ramped up investment in its South Asian neighbor as part of a plan to link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.

The corridor is one of the largest projects in the Belt and Road initiative, comprising a network of road and sea routes involving 65 countries.

Pakistan has been battling Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in mineral-rich Balochistan since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants having been killed in the fighting.

The IS group has been making inroads in the country through alliances with local militant outfits.

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