3-day Oman kidnap drama ends as police free abducted Indian

Mohammed Haneefa who was kidnapped by a Pakistani gang in Oman recently.

A three-day kidnap drama in Oman has ended after police arrested three members of a Pakistani gang and freed an abducted Indian expatriate working in the industrial city of Sohar.

Mohammed Haneefa, who sold food products and worked part time at a garage in Sohar, was abducted by a gang of four masked men three days ago. The kidnappers sought ransom from the victim’s family in Palakkad in the southern Indian state of Kerala and his relatives working in Saudi Arabia.

"At around 3am today, a patrol vehicle of the special police formed to rescue Haneefa found him and his abductors in a farm," reported the Times of Oman quoting Yousuf Salim, a social worker.

“Police arrested three of the abductors and are looking for the other members of the gang,” the newspaper said.

Haneefa had been working in Oman for the past three years under the sponsorship of a police official.

Haneefa was allegedly tortured by the gang who threatened to kill him if his family did not pay a ransom of Pakistani Rupees 500,000 by 11pm on Sunday.

The gang contacted his family in India through Internet phone calls, demanding the ransom of half a million Pakistani rupees be deposited in bank accounts specified by them.

Haneefa was planning to start a cafeteria when the gang members spotted him with cash. When they failed to rob him, they decided to abduct him and demand ransom from the family, media reports said quoting family members and social workers.

Initially, the kidnappers demanded Omani Rial 2000 for releasing Haneefa but later changed their demands, said Rejimon Kuttappan, a journalist with Times of Oman.

As Haneefa’s family members did not understand the language of the kidnappers, the gang forced the victim to speak to them. The gang also noted phone numbers of the victim’s relatives working in the Gulf, especially his brother, a house driver in Saudi Arabia, to demand that the money be wired through Western Union to bank accounts in Pakistan.

The family members recorded their telephone conversations and at times Omani police, which was following the kidnappers through their cyber cell, advised them not to take Internet calls. When the family members did not take the kidnappers’ Internet phone calls, they started to torture Haneefa more. As a result, Pakistan Rs50,000 was sent from a money exchange in Saudi Arabia to bank account in Pakistan.


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