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Pakistan Video Appears to Show Kidnapped UN Official


A local news agency in Pakistan has broadcast what appears to be video of a kidnapped U.N. official pleading for his release.

U.S. and U.N. officials have not confirmed the authenticity of the video, or whether the man in it is John Solecki, a U.N. employee and U.S. citizen kidnapped in Quetta on February 2.

The brief, low-resolution video clip shows a blindfolded man addressing the United Nations and saying he is "sick and in trouble."

A VOA reporter in Pakistan who saw the video says it was sent to the Online News Agency on a cellphone memory card, along with a letter demanding the release within 72 hours of 141 ethnic Baluch women who the kidnappers say are being detained by Pakistani authorities.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Baluchistan Liberation United Front has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Solecki.

The group said it would soon issue a list of male prisoners as well.

A U.S. official who asked not to be named told VOA that analysts are studying the video and cannot yet verify its authenticity.

Solecki, an official with the U.N. refugee agency, was abducted in the southwestern city of Quetta nearly two weeks ago as he was traveling to work.

Officials say his driver was wounded in the attack and later died.

In the video, the blindfolded man says he is ill and appeals for help to "solve the problems" to secure his release. He did not specify what problems he is referring to.

Attacks on foreign workers in Pakistan have increased in recent months.

Last week, Taliban militants released a video showing the killing of a Polish engineer, Piotr Stanczak, abducted last September from Punjab province. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry released a statement Friday, condemning what it called a heinous crime and brutal act of terrorism.

The Pakistani government also extended its "deepest sympathies" to Poland and said it was determined to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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