Asia

Czech tourists freed in Pakistan after two years

Map

Two Czech women tourists who were kidnapped two years ago in Pakistan have been released and have returned home, Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka says.

Hana Humpalova and Antonie Chrastecka, both 26, were abducted while travelling on a bus in south-western Balochistan province in March 2013.

A Turkish Muslim humanitarian body helped negotiate the release.

Kidnappings are not uncommon in Balochistan, both by militants and gangs seeking ransoms.

Mr Sobotka confirmed to the CT24 news channel that the pair were back in the country and asked for their privacy to be respected.

The Anadolu news agency in Turkey quoted Ms Chrastecka as saying: "I still can't believe I am here. Even now, I fear this is a dream."

The agency said the pair had arrived in Van, eastern Turkey, on Friday after two months of "intense" negotiations.

Izzet Sahin, of the Turkish Muslim humanitarian organisation IHH, said it had been contacted by the families of the women as a last resort.

Anadolu quoted Ms Humpalova as saying: "It was very hard. For the first time in our lives we saw weapons and armed men.

"We still do not know why were taken. There were weapons fired and bombs going off. But we got used to it in time."

The pair were travelling from Iran to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, when they were taken from the bus in Chaghi district, despite a police escort.