The police will record the statements of the freed villagers

Raipur: Eight people, who were allegedly kidnapped by Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district a few days back, were released unharmed and they have safely returned to their village, the police said on Wednesday.

Before releasing them, the Maoists warned the villagers "not to support police or development works" in the area, the police said.

"These people reached their village Kunded under Jagargunda police station limits on Tuesday night and all of them are safe," senior police official (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.

Maoists had forcefully taken seven people on July 18 and another local resident on July 17 along with them towards Puvarti village, the native place of dreaded Maoist Hidma, and allegedly kept them in captivity, he said.

When they did not return home, a group of villagers from the area went into the forest in search of them and to facilitate their release.

After being alerted, the police swung into action and launched a search for these people, Mr Sundarraj said.

Meanwhile, local representatives of tribal communities were also contacted and they issued an appeal in the media, asking the ultras to release the abducted villagers, Mr Sundarraj said.

"With the growing pressure from the police and appeals made by local tribal leaders, Naxals had to set them free," the official said.

All the eight kidnapped people along with the villagers who had gone to secure their release have returned to their native Kunded, located over 400 km away from capital Raipur, he said.

However, it was not yet clear why the villagers were kidnapped.

The police will record the statements of the freed villagers, he added.