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Kidnapped UN official reportedly sick

The United Nations is concerned about the health of an American UN official kidnapped in Pakistan last...

Flag of Pakistan

The United Nations is concerned about the health of an American UN official kidnapped in <?xml:namespace prefix="u1"?><country-region u2:st="on"><place u2:st="on"><?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on"><country-region w:st="on">Pakistan</country-region></country-region> last month and wants him released as soon as possible, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Kidnappers, holding the official with the UN refugee agency John Solecki, said he was seriously ill with cardiac problems and authorities should act on their demands to release prisoners.

Solecki, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Baluchistan, was kidnapped in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Quetta on 2February when gunmen ambushed his car and shot his driver.

Militants, from a previously unknown group, said they had kidnapped him and made various demands, including the release of prisoners it said were being held by the government.

Separatist militants have for decades fought a low-intensity insurgency in <place u2:st="on"><place w:st="on">Baluchistan for control of the province’s gas and other resources.

A spokesman for the group, the Baluchistan Liberation United Front, telephoned a Pakistani news agency late on Monday and said Solecki was seriously ill.

BLUF spokesman Shahiq Baluch said they were giving two more days for the acceptance of their demands for the release of more than 1 000 prisoners after which they would not be responsible for Solecki.

Timeline

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