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By Mushtaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Police say they have busted a criminal gang, including female doctors, accused of abducting newborn babies from hospitals and selling them to childless couples.

‎Abbas Majeed Marwat, police chief of the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the gang included female doctors, health workers, nurses and midwives.

"At the moment we arrested seven members of the gang. Some of them have been serving in the public and private sector hospitals and maternity homes from where they used to abduct newborns and sell them to rich childless couples in different parts of the country," he told NBC News.

He said ‎the police conducted a raid on a house in Peshawar soon after arresting one member of the gang, identified as Wajeeha Yasmin, and recovered a baby.

"During initial interrogation, they informed us about other members of the gang in which some have been rounded up and efforts were underway to capture others,” Marwat said. “They admitted to have abducted nine babies from different hospitals and selling them to childless couples.”

A five-day old baby recovered during the police operation was going to be sold for $3,000, he said, while some of the other babies were sold for between Rs80, 000 ($800) and Rs150,000 ($1500).

‎Farhad Khan, spokesman for the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) in Peshawar, said officials had installed surveillance cameras in all government and private hospitals after managers received complaints about missing babies.

However, a security guard and a midwife at the hospital were recently arrested for abducting a newborn from the KTH facility.