- Associated Press - Thursday, January 20, 2011

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen attacked employees of a Hungarian oil and gas company returning from work in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing two of them and abducting two others. Four soldiers guarding the convoy were also killed, a top official said.

All those killed and seized in the incident in Kohat region were Pakistani nationals, said the area’s top administrator, Khalid Umerzai.

He said the victims were working for MOL Pakistan, a subsidiary of the MOL Group. A receptionist at the company’s headquarters in Islamabad said the offices were empty late Thursday. The company’s website said it was developing oil and gas blocks in the Kohat area.

Kohat is a dangerous region close to the Afghan border where Islamist militants and criminal gangs are active.

The two-car convoy was being guarded by the Frontier Constabulary when it was attacked, said Umerzai. Four of its officers were killed, along with a driver and a worker, he said. Two other employees were abducted by the attackers, he said.

Pakistan has significant oil and gas reserves in the south and northwest, but exploiting them is risky given the precarious security situation. Militants have attacked employees of foreign and local companies before, leading many of them to scale back operations.

In 2009, a Polish engineer working for an oil and gas company in the northwest was kidnapped by Islamist militants and later beheaded. A Chinese engineer kidnapped in a separate incident was released unharmed after six months in captivity.


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