At least 10 Iranian security personnel, including members of the Revolutionary Guards, were kidnapped on the border with Pakistan on Tuesday, state media reported, and a Sunni separatist group said it was responsibile.
The Revolutionary Guards said in a statement carried on state television that some of its members were kidnapped by a militant group at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.
The Guards did not say how many were kidnapped, but state news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed official saying 14 people were kidnapped around 4 or 5 a.m..
Ebrahim Azizi, spokesman of Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, took it had seized 10 people.
“This morning Jaish al-Ad forces attacked a border post in Mirjaveh, and captured all their weapons,” Azizi said in an audio message sent to Reuters.
He said the attack was a retaliation for what he called Iranian state’s oppression against Sunni people in Sistan-Baluchestan, a mainly Sunni province that has a long history of unrest from separatist militants.
Reuters received the audio message through an activist in the region, but was not able to verify it.
Iran says militant groups have safe havens in Pakistan and has warned it would hit their bases there if Islamabad does not act.
“We expect Pakistan to confront these terrorist groups that are supported by some regional states, and immediately release the kidnapped Iranian forces,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement.
In September, the Revolutionary Guards killed four Sunni militants at a border crossing with Pakistan, including the second-in-command of Jaish al-Adl.