China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday it was investigating the Islamic State group’s claim that two Chinese teachers kidnapped in Pakistan have been killed. Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the official Xinhua News Agency that the government was seeking information from Pakistani authorities. ”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,” Hua was quoted as saying. The two language school teachers were kidnapped May 24 by gunmen dressed as police who stopped their car in Quetta. A bystander who attempted to intervene was shot and wounded while rescuing a third person.
A statement late Thursday from the Islamic State group’s news agency said the two Chinese teachers had been killed. Thousands of Chinese work in Pakistan and have sometimes been targeted by militants. China is a longtime ally of Pakistan and is building roads and power plants under multibillion-dollar project termed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Islamic militants opposed to Chinese rule in the northwestern region of Xinjiang are also believed to be sheltering in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, from which they have threatened to launch attacks.