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Polish FM vows to hunt down Taliban killers of hostage

world Updated: Feb 09, 2009 18:24 IST

AFP
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Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on Monday denounced the execution of a Polish hostage by the Pakistani Taliban and vowed to hunt down his killers.

Pakistan's umbrella Taliban group released a video of the execution of hostage Piotr Stanczak on Sunday.

"The cassette of the execution, this bestial execution, is authentic and unfortunately it confirms the worst," Sikorski told reporters.

"Now we can no longer save our compatriot, we are going to try to punish his killers," he added.

"After consultation with the justice minister, we are issuing arrest warrants to arrest the men suspected of having committed this crime."

A Taliban spokesman said over the weekend its men had decapitated Stanczak because the Pakistani authorities had refused to free detained insurgents.

Deputy foreign minister Jacek Najder told Polish broadcasters Monday that Poland would call on Pakistan to return the body of the first Polish hostage to die since Warsaw sided with Washington in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Stanczak, 42, was working in Pakistan for a Polish energy company when he was seized in the volatile northwest of the country on September 28. His abductors killed his driver and his bodyguard.

Most Polish broadcasters showed only a still image from the video.

Stanczak was the father of a 13-year-old son.

"Never in Poland have we had such a situation," said Jacek Cichocki, security adviser to Prime Minister Donald Tusk. "We see films about citizens from other countries -- Americans, British -- but not Poles."

He added: "The hostagetakers initially wanted the release of 60 Islamist fighters held in Pakistan. Then they brought down the number, and ended by demanding the release of no more than four detainees."

The killer of US journalist Daniel Pearl, slain after he was kidnapped in 2002 in Pakistan, was among those whose release was sought, Polish officials said.