Sun, 18 Aug 2019

Police in Slovakia are searching for four members of Afghanistan's first all-female orchestra who disappeared from their hotel after participating in a local festival.

Zohra, a 35-member orchestra, performed at a concert on July 13 at the Pohoda Festival in the western town of Trencin, some 130 kilometers north of Bratislava, near the Czech border.

Four members went missing from their hotel on July 14, Slovak police said.

Pavol Kudlicka, a spokesperson for the Trencin regional police, said the musicians returned to their hotel after the concert but went missing the next morning.

'Due to legal reasons and the ongoing investigation, no names can be disclosed for now,' Kudlicka added.

Local Slovak media reported that some orchestra members had said that one of the girls had a cousin in Germany.

Some members of Zohra orchestra, named after the Persian goddess of music, are orphans or from poor families.

Many of the orchestra's members have reportedly faced threats and attacks in their home country, even from their relatives.

Despite the disappearance, the orchestra, founded five years ago, played several concerts in western Slovakia this week.

They came to international prominence after performing at the closing of the World Economic Forum in Davos two years ago.

Based on reporting by AFP, cas.sk, and spectator.sme.sk

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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