Police: Three killed, German tourist abducted in India's Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India - Suspected Islamic guerrillas killed three Buddhist monks and abducted a German tourist in an area of northern Kashmir, police said Tuesday.

The German, Harfurth Rolf, was traveling in the Zanskar region when he hitched a ride on a truck in which a group of militants and three laborers were also traveling. On July 11, the truck was stopped at the town of Rangdum by Buddhist monks, who routinely check vehicles to prevent smuggling of Himalayan timber, said Ashok Bhan, the inspector-general of police in Jammu-Kashmir state.

The militants killed three monks and wounded another, then forced the driver to head to a secluded area. They climbed a narrow path normally used by shepherds, taking Rolf with them, Bahn said. The driver was left behind.

Police got Rolf's name from personal belongings they recovered from a hotel room. No more details about him were released.

German Embassy officials in New Delhi declined to comment. Police and Indian army soldiers were searching for the group, Bhan said.

In June 1995, Islamic militants abducted six Western tourists. Four of them - Donald Hutchings of Spokane, Wash.; Dirk Hasert of Erfurt, Germany; Keith Mangan of Middlesborough, England and Paul Wells of London - have been missing since then and are believed dead.

Another American, John Childs of Simsbury, Conn., escaped his captors within days of the abduction, but the beheaded body of a Norwegian, Hans Christian Ostro, was found a month later.

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