Pakistan has detained two suspects in the kidnapping of a now—released British boy that has drawn investigators from four countries, police said on Thursday.
Sahil Saeed, a five—year—old of Pakistan origin, was snatched on March 4 from his grandparents’ house in central Pakistan. He was released 12 days later and flew back to Manchester, northern England, where he lives with his parents.
Authorities in Spain have arrested two Pakistan men and a Romanian woman allegedly involved in the abduction. Officials also have said they confiscated 100,000 pounds ($152,000) that the boy’s family paid to the kidnappers.
The two suspects arrested by Pakistan officials are allegedly members of a criminal gang suspected in at least 22 murders and several other kidnappings, senior police official Aslam Tareen, told reporters on Thursday.
He did not say exactly when or where the men were picked up.
One of the arrested men is the brother of one of the two Pakistanis held in Spain, he said. At least two other suspected gang members are still at large, Mr. Tareen said, adding that the captures involved cooperation with police in Spain, Britain and France.
He said authorities also recovered three motorbikes and a car used in the crime, as well as weapons stored by the gang including rocket launchers and Kalashnikov rifles.
Sahil was taken after robbers entered the family’s home in Jhelum and held them at gunpoint for several hours overnight. The first calls for ransom were made from Spain, authorities say, and the boy’s family was instructed to travel to Paris to deliver the payment.
The abduction received major media attention, especially in Britain, and some top Pakistan officials suggested that the abductors may have had ties to the child’s family.
But Mr. Tareen said on Thursday that authorities had determined no one in the family was involved in the crime. He said the gang had been disappointed not to find enough to steal while robbing the boy’s house and decided to take him instead for a ransom.
If charged, the men will be put on trial in Pakistan, he added.
Kidnapping for ransom is an increasingly common crime in Pakistan, and most victims are Pakistanis.
Sahil’s recovery has been met with relief by many people here, but some have complained in letters to media outlets that authorities rarely display the same concern for Pakistanis who are abducted.