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UN Renews Appeal for Release of Kidnapped Official in Pakistan

The United Nations has renewed its appeal for the release of U.N. official John Solecki, on the 50th day of his captivity in Pakistan.

Solecki, a 49-year-old U.S. citizen, was abducted in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on February 2.

The U.N. issued a statement Tuesday to mark the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, which falls on Wednesday. U.N. officials say 19 U.N. staff members are currently under arrest, detained or missing around the world.

A spokesman for the head of the U.N. refugee agency says the U.N. is increasingly concerned about Solecki's medical condition after hearing that his health is deteriorating. U.N. officials say Solecki suffers from a heart condition.

A group called the Baluchistan Liberation United Front says it is holding Solecki. The group is demanding the release of 1,109 ethnic Baluchs it says are being held by the Pakistani government.

Earlier this month, the government said it had identified the kidnappers and surrounded them. But officials said they wanted to proceed cautiously.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP