Gunmen kidnap at least 9 Christians in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen kidnapped nine Pakistani Christians on Saturday in an attack on a religious gathering in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said.

“The gunmen came in six vehicles and attacked the house where the Christian people were praying and took away at least nine people with them,” a senior police official, Imran Shahid, told Reuters.

Some local residents said over two dozen people had been kidnapped in the attack in the Danishabad area of Peshawar city, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

No one immediately claimed responsibility but the area lies close to the Khyber tribal region where Islamist militants have been active in recent months. The region is also notorious for smugglers and bandits.

Pakistan has seen a wave of militant violence, most of it in the northwest and the adjoining lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border, since the middle of the last year, but minority Christians have not been targeted as such.