June 9 (UPI) — China expressed “grave concern” Friday after the Islamic State reported its militants killed two Chinese teachers kidnapped in Pakistan.
Amaq, a news agency affiliated with the terror group also identified as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, reported Thursday that Islamic State fighters had killed two Chinese teachers who were kidnapped May 24 in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. In a video, two bodies appear to have gunshot wounds and are bleeding on grassy ground.
“We have taken note of relevant reports and we express our grave concern. We have been trying to rescue the two kidnapped hostages over the past days,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement. “The Chinese side is working to learn about and verify relevant information through various channels, including working with Pakistani authorities.
She added: “The Chinese side is firmly opposed to the acts of kidnapping civilians in any form, as well as terrorism and extreme violence in any form.”
Last week, Pakistan raided the Islamic State while searching for the Chinese nationals. They failed to find the teachers but killed several militant commanders.
China said it was told by Pakistani officials the pair had probably died before that raid.
The couple were teaching Chinese near the Afghan border. They were abducted by armed militants posing as police officers. They dragged them into a vehicle and then drove off.
Balochistan is the site of a $55 billion infrastructure program of road, rail and energy projects that make up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It’s a part of China’s Belt and Road initiative for new land and sea trade routes connecting its economy with Central Asia, Europe and Africa.
In 2015, the Islamic State reportedly killed a kidnapped Chinese consultant Fan Jinghui, 50. Beijing refused to pay a ransom for him.