American United Nations Diplomat kidnapped by militants in Quetta Pakistan

 

Quetta, Pakistan- On the heels of our recent report regarding an up tick in Taliban and militant activity in the Pakistani city of Quetta comes word that the head of the UN Agency for Refugees in Quetta Pakistan has been kidnapped by militants. American diplomat John Solecki, was seized by gunmen and taken hostage and his Pakistani driver was shot and killed Friday as he was headed in the morning to his UN agency office.

His United Nations labeled SUV was found rammed against the wall and at least one bullet hole was found on the vehicle. When the Pakistani police reached the vehicle, they found the driver shot and dead at the steering wheel and Mr. Solecki missing. The US expressed “extreme shock and dismay” at the abduction and the Pakistani government called his kidnapping and the killing of the driver a “dastardly terrorist act.”

The city of Quetta in Pakistan borders Afghanistan and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been involved for at least 30 years in the area helping the Afghani refugees from the war with the Soviets and then the internal conflict between the warlords and eventually the Taliban and now fleeing the war on terror between the American forces and the militants.

Police has increased patrols in the region and are fearing that Solecki may have been taken to the Afghani side of the region or he may very well even be hidden in a house in and around Quetta. Local police has confirmed that the American citizen Solecki has been working in Quetta for at least the last two years. He did not have a police escort and it is known that he did not like to have an escort with him on his way to the office.

A few hours after his abduction, a video was released by the kidnappers who identified themselves as being with the little known Baluchistan Liberation United Front, suggesting a link to local separatist groups who have waged an insurgency against Pakistan’s government. This suggests that the persons responsible may not be Al-Qaeda or even Taliban militants but rather local insurgents who are seeking an independent Baluchistan from Pakistan.

In the 20 second video, Solecki appears blindfolded and has a shawl draped over his shoulders and states that his message is addressed to the United Nations. “I am not feeling well. I am sick and in trouble. Please help solve the problem soon so I can gain my release,” he says. The kidnappers have threatened to kill Solecki within 72 hours if their demands of the immediate release of 141 women it says were held by the authorities. The militants recently beheaded a Polish engineer in the area after negogations for his release last week failed. It is feared that they intend to carryout their threat on Solecki if their demands are not met.

Pakistanis for Peace and the majority of the peace loving people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are extremely disturbed and saddened by the death of the Pakistani driver and of the abduction of Mr John Solecki. A committed humanitarian and diplomat interested in solving the refugee problem for the Afghani people in the area, all he was doing in the region was helping the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He and his agency’s work in this violent and volatile region is of paramount importance in providing assistance and relief to many thousands of people in the area. At risk to his life and liberty he happily worked in this part of the world as he believed in the cause of the UN Refugee agency. We are tremendously saddened by these turn of events and pray that there is a peaceful solution to the situation and that Mr Solecki be released immediately. The cowards responsible for his abduction should realize that individuals such as Mr Solecki are doing nothing but helping the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and for them to threaten his life goes against everything the religion of Islam and the hospitable nature of the people of the area in how their custom is to treat visitors and guests in their country. We Pray that he is released safely and immediately and that the terrorists responsible for his abduction be caught and brought to justice.

This is an image from mobile phone footage released by Online Photos Friday Feb.
Reported for www.PakistanisforPeace.com by Manzer Munir

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