Islamabad: The families of some of the six football players who were abducted in Dera Bugti, Baluchistan, last week complained to the authorities concerned that it had been three days and the athletes still not traceable, Dawn reported.

The six football players were on their way to Sibi to compete in the qualifying round of the All Pakistan Chief Minister Gold Cup Football competition when they were kidnapped by unidentified armed guys in the Kachhi canal area of Sui Tehsil in Dera Bugti district.

They were travelling with other members of the Dera Bugti district football team when they were taken hostage by armed men in the Jani Pedi region of Sui Tehsil.

According to sources, cited by Dawn, nearly 24 players were en route to Sibi when a gang of armed men stopped their car and forcibly took them away. According to accounts, the abductors later released 18 players but detained 6, all of them were from the Dera Bugti and Sui regions.

After taking serious notice of the kidnapping, interim interior minister Sarfraz Bugti and retired captain and Balochistan’s home minister Zubair Ahmed Jamali instructed concerned officials to initiate a search operation in order to immediately locate the kidnapped football players.

The fathers of two of the kidnapped athletes, whose identities are being withheld due to concern for security, however, complained about the lack of progress on the case in a statement to Dawn.

The parendta of the kidnapped athlete blamed the district government for failing to reveal the steps being taken to bring back their children or contact them to share information with them.

The other individual told Dawn that the commandant of the Frontier Corps had reassured the family that the footballers will be recovered. “But they haven’t been found despite a passage of three days.”

Sharing his predicament, he said, “We can neither support nor oppose an operation as the footballers were still in captivity. An operation in this situation can increase the risk to our children’s lives.”

He urged other officials, including interim Balochistan Chief Minister Ali Mardan Khan Domki, to ensure the footballers' safe return.

A protests are being held in Sui about the government's failure to locate the footballers for the past three days. Security personnel have so far arrested seven suspects in connection with the kidnapping incident but have not discovered any information regarding the whereabouts of the sportsmen.

The interior minister asserted on Sunday that the kidnappers belonged to the outlawed Baloch Republican Army, despite the fact that no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and that the kidnappers themselves have not been in touch with the hostages' family, Dawn reported.