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Pakistan Arrests Suspected Kidnapper of UN Workers

Pakistan says it has arrested the man believed responsible for the October kidnapping of three foreign United Nations workers in Afghanistan.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed says authorities arrested the accused militant leader Syed Akbar Agha several days ago in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

"We have arrested a person who was the mastermind of the kidnapping of three U.N. workers," said Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

The three hostages: two European women and a Filipino man - had helped organize elections in Afghanistan. They were abducted at gunpoint in late October and released about a month later.

The alleged mastermind of the kidnapping is said to be the leader of the Jaish-e Muslimeen, a group associated with Afghanistan's former Taleban government and opposed to the new Afghan government and its foreign allies.

Information Secretary Ahmed says the arrest was kept secret for over a week to avoid alerting other suspects connected with Mr. Akbar Agha.

"This is the problem," he explained. "When the news comes in the electronic media, people come to know, [and] their partners and supporters run away."

Police sources say members of Mr. Akbar Agha's family were also detained.

News of the capture comes as Pakistani authorities say they have arrested about a dozen suspects in connection with a bombing Friday in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, which killed 11 people.

The suspects reportedly belong to an anti-government separatist group, which claimed responsibility for the incident.