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Gunmen kidnap nine Afghan deminers: officials

24 April, 2013

KANDAHAR: Gunmen have kidnapped nine deminers in Afghanistan's restive southern province of Kandahar, officials said on Tuesday.

The men, all Afghans, were being driven back from a minefield Monday when they were seized in Maiwand district, provincial spokesman Jawid Faisal told AFP.

"They had just finished their work in the area and were riding in two cars when they were taken by a group of gunmen," he said. Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq confirmed the incident.

"We don't yet know who abducted them but we have launched a search," he said.

A Taliban spokesman talking to AFP from an undisclosed location denied the group's involvement in the abduction. It was not immediately clear who the deminers worked for, but there are scores of mine clearance agencies working to clear Afghanistan of landmines and other ordnance left over from more than three decades of war.

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