Three held over Sahil Saeed ransom demand

Three held over Sahil Saeed ransom demand
# 17 March 2010 19:40 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Spanish police have arrested two Pakistani men and a Romanian woman in connection with a ransom demanded for kidnapped British boy Sahil Saeed, APA reports quoting BBC.
Sahil, five, from Oldham, was taken from his grandmother’s home in Pakistan on 3 March, then freed 13 days later.
The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Madrid said officers in Tarragona, Catalonia, had confirmed the arrests, but said the investigation was still open.
Sahil’s return is being organised by the UK High Commission in Pakistan.
He was taken when robbers broke into the house while he and his father Raja Saeed were on holiday visiting relatives in Jhelum, in the Punjab region. Mr Saeed returned to the UK last week against the wishes of Pakistan’s police.
Family members were said to have been beaten by the intruders during a six-hour ordeal, which ended with the robbers looting the house and fleeing with the boy.
The gang had apparently demanded a £100,000 ransom for Sahil’s return, but his family had said there was "no way" they could afford any such payment.
On 16 March Sahil was left near a school about 20km (12 miles) from Jhelum before wandering into a field where he was found by locals.
His family said they were "ecstatic" at the news he had been freed, and was unharmed.
His mother, Akila Naqqash, said she was "gobsmacked" at his calm reaction when they spoke on the phone.
The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says kidnapping is not rare in Pakistan, and even when ransoms are handed over, such cases do not always end happily.
After Sahil was released on Tuesday Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, of Greater Manchester Police, said police did not expect to make imminent arrests in the UK, but there could be arrests in other parts of Europe.
ACC Thompson said "things were moving very quickly" and that he was unable to comment on whether a ransom had been paid, because of the ongoing criminal investigation.
’Gang of five’
When UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband was asked if a ransom had been paid, he had no further information on the case.
The policy of the Foreign Office is that it does not pay ransoms and it advises others not to do so.
The law minister of Punjab province, Rana Sanaullah, was asked on ARY TV on Tuesday whether Sahil’s father had paid a ransom to secure his child’s release.
He said the money had been paid "not in Britain, but in another country".
BBC Pakistan correspondent Orla Guerin, in Jhelum, said that while there were still many unanswered questions, police kept repeating there was no evidence of involvement by anyone in Sahil’s family.
The local police chief had said he was searching for "a gang of five" and would give more details once an arrest had been made.
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