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Interview: Bus Driver Describes Abduction Of Two Czech Women In Pakistan

Bus driver Manoo Khan said he didn't know if the uniformed men who kidnapped the two Czechs were Frontier Constabulary, intelligence troops, or others. (file photo)
Two young Czech women were abducted in Pakistan's restive Balochistan Province on March 13. The 24-year-old women, identified only as Hana and Antonie, had been traveling from Iran on a passenger bus.

Khudainoor Nasar of RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal spoke to Manoo Khan, the bus driver, in Quetta on March 15.

RFE/RL: Can you describe what happened?

Manoo Khan:
We started to travel from the [Iranian] border at around 3:30 p.m. and reached [the spot of the abduction] around 5:25 p.m. They [the kidnappers] waved at the bus from around 500 meters away [and ordered it] to stop.

Two of them came from the right and five others from the left side. The five [who approached from the left] were wearing uniforms and the two [on the right side] were in plainclothes. One of them was holding a wireless set. I thought they were security men who were checking the bus.

Then two of them came inside the bus and took the AK-47 away from the guard [a man guarding the women] and had them all [the guard and the two Czech women] get off the bus.

RFE/RL: How did they identify the Czech women at first sight?

Manoo Khan:
They [the women] were sitting in the front seat and [the kidnappers] spoke to them in English. Then the conductor removed their luggage. I asked if they had some more things with them. And the women said, "Yes." Then they went back into the bus and took their remaining luggage.

RFE/RL: What was the women's reaction?

Manoo Khan:
[They said] "No, no, no." Then the women took their luggage and the kidnappers took their shoes and pushed one of the women. She was very upset. Then they were forced to sit in a pickup truck.

I asked the kidnappers again to make sure they didn't have any more luggage because I am just a poor driver and would not be able to pay for it if they claimed it later. Then the girls said in English that they didn't have any more luggage. All this happened in four to five minutes.

RFE/RL: What did the kidnappers look like? Who did they represent?

Manoo Khan:
What I can say? They came in uniforms. I can't say if they were Frontier Constabulary, intelligence, or private people. God knows. One of them was holding a wireless set and they had [Toyota] Land Cruisers.

RFE/RL: And then they were forced into those cars?

Manoo Khan:
Yes, the women were made to sit in the back seats and five people sat on either side of them.

RFE/RL: And what was the exact area where they stopped the bus?

Manoo Khan:
We are exactly 20 or 20 1/2 kilometers from the Naw Kundi area on the Taftan side. This is a sandy area and when the wind blows it closes the road.