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'Ransom paid' for UK kidnap boy.

3/17/2010 6:11:59 PM

A ransom for five-year-old British boy kidnapped in Pakistan and freed this week was paid in Paris, Spanish and Pakistani authorities say.

Spain's home office said three people had been detained in Spain and two more in France over the payment, which is said to have been made in Paris.

Speaking in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, Rehman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister, said that "seed money" was involved in securing Sahil Saeed's release on Tuesday.

"Yes, there was a seed money. There were two ways: to catch them [the kidnappers] and have the boy killed but what was decided, the life is more important".

Rana Sanaullah, a provincial minister, told the Reuters news agency that Pakistanis had been arrested, but gave no further details.

He said that an "international gang of kidnappers" was responsible for the abduction of the boy, who is from the English town of Oldham.

'Armed raid'

Spanish authorities said two of those detained in Spain's northeast were suspected of going to Paris to seek the ransom, while two suspected collaboraters were picked up in Paris.

Some relatives of Saeed, who was dropped off in a field in Pakistan by his abductors, had previously said the boy was taken by kidnappers who demanded a $120,000 ransom.

The boy was taken from his grandmother's house in the town of Jhelum, about 100km south of Islamabad in the early hours of March 4, while preparing to leave with his Pakistani father to fly back to Britain.

Raja Saeed said the kidnappers stormed the house armed with guns and grenades, subjecting the family to a six-hour ordeal while he and his son were preparing to take a taxi to the airport and fly home.

Involvement denied

Relatives have vigorously denied claims that a family member could have been involved in the abduction.

British officials gave no details on exactly how Sahil had been recovered, but said he was in the care of Pakistani authorities and his uncle.

Doctors confirmed the boy was in good condition, adding that he was under police protection and accompanied by British officials.

Kidnappings of Westerners are rare in Pakistan, but abductions of locals are common.

They are often related to family quarrels, love affairs, property disputes or simple quests for money - particularly for the wealthier victims - by criminal gangs, some of whom are connected to Islamist fighter networks.

Local media said on Tuesday that the dead body of a two-year-old Pakistani girl who was kidnapped for ransom was found near the northwestern city of Peshawar.

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Publication:Aljazeera.net
Date:Mar 17, 2010
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