Baluch rebels claim kidnap of American in Pakistan | world | Hindustan Times
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Baluch rebels claim kidnap of American in Pakistan

world Updated: Feb 08, 2009 09:30 IST

A shadowy ethnic Baluch rebel group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of an American United Nations employee in Pakistan early this week.

John Solecki, head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in the provincial capital Quetta, was abducted at gunpoint and his driver killed when his UN vehicle was ambushed on Monday.

"We have abducted John Solecki. We have taken this step to seek the world's attention towards the excesses being inflicted on (the) Baluch Nation," a spokesman for the Baluch Liberation Front said in a call to the local Online news agency.

The man who identified himself as Shahak Khan said they wanted Washington to use its influence on Pakistan for the redemption of their political and economic rights.

"America should pressure Pakistan to release Baluch political activists, including women, and to resolve the Baluchistan problems in accordance with the Geneva Convention."

Pakistan has condemned the kidnapping as a "dastardly terrorist act" and offered a reward of one million rupees (12,610 dollars) for information leading to Solecki's rescue.

Baluchistan, in southwest Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan and Iran, is rife with regional insurgency, sectarian violence and attacks blamed on Islamist extremists, making it difficult to pinpoint the kidnappers.

During a visit to Islamabad on Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Pakistan to do everything possible to secure Solecki's release.