Bomb Kills 5 Afghan Police Carrying Bodies Thought to Belong to Kidnap Victims

A roadside bomb hit a convoy carrying the bodies of four men believed to be Macedonians kidnapped in southern Afghanistan a day after the remains were recovered, a provincial governor said. Five police were killed and three wounded.

Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid said the bodies were found late Thursday in a mountainous region in the Maywand district of Kandahar province.

"We sent an investigation team to the Maywand area where we found the bodies of the four foreigners in the mountains," Khalid told The Associated Press.

Khalid did not explain how he knew the four bodies were those of the Macedonians, employees for the German company Ecolog, who were abducted last Saturday in either Kandahar or Helmand, two neighboring southern provinces.

But he said the hunt was launched after a purported spokesman for the Taliban claimed this week that it had shot the Macedonians and abandoned their bodies near a main road between the two provinces.

A vehicle in the police convoy returning the bodies to the city of Kandahar late Friday was struck by a roadside bomb, killing five policemen and wounding three, Khalid said.

"The police bringing the dead bodies of these four foreigners was hit by a roadside bomb on the highway between Kandahar and Maywand," Khalid said. "One of the vehicles was hit and the others in the convoy continued on to Kandahar with the bodies."

The bodies were being transported to Kabul, he said.

At Ecolog's head office in Duesseldorf, company spokesman Marc-Oliver Huhnholz said he could not confirm that the bodies of the missing employees had been found.

"We are still in contact with officials but they haven't confirmed to us that they have found the bodies," Huhnholz said. "We are still waiting for information."

Ecolog provides sanitation services at U.S. and Afghan army bases.