Security officials say abducted men were released on the intervention of local tribal elders.
Unidentified captors released a six-member polio vaccination team on Wednesday, two days after gunmen kidnapped them in southwest Pakistan, officials said.
A polio worker, his driver and four tribal police guards were abducted on Monday after administering polio drops in Awaran town in Balochistan province.
The kidnapping was the latest setback to efforts to eradicate the disease in Pakistan—one of only three countries in the world where the crippling virus is still endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.
“The vaccination team members, who had been snatched on gunpoint by over a dozen armed men Monday evening, returned to Awaran town Wednesday morning,” said senior local police official Rafiq Lasi. He said the kidnapped men were released on the intervention of local tribal elders. A senior local administration official, Bashir Baloch, also confirmed the development.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but militant groups see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, and there are also long-running rumors about polio drops causing infertility.
More than 40 people, including health workers and police guarding the teams that administer polio drops to children, have been killed in Pakistan since December 2012. Masked gunmen kidnapped another six-member polio vaccination team southwest of Peshawar earlier this month. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.
According to the WHO, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012. Victims are left dead, paralyzed or with withered limbs.