02-04-2009, 07:27 PM
UN official in Quetta kidnapped, authorities offer million bucks as reward for info
DAWN.COM | Balochistan | Authorities offer reward for kidnapped American
QUETTA: Authorities on Wednesday announced a reward of one million rupees ($12,610 dollars) for information leading to the rescue of a kidnapped UN American official, police said.
John Solecki, head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in the city of Quetta was snatched at gunpoint and his driver killed on Monday.
'Anyone who provides information to police leading to safe recovery of John Solecki will be awarded one million rupees and his name will be kept secret,' the head of the police investigation Wazir Khan Nasir told AFP.
'Those who help police will be provided full protection,' he said. Officials say they were questioning more than a dozen suspects over the kidnapping in Baluchistan province as part of an 'all-out' rescue effort.
'We have activated our contacts both in towns and border areas seeking information about the kidnapped UN official,' Nasir said.
Quetta, which has an estimated population of just under one million, is considered a possible refuge for Taliban leaders who fled after US-led troops invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 and toppled the hardline regime.
Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is rife with provincial insurgency, sectarian violence and attacks blamed on extremists, leaving the authorities unclear on who was behind the assault.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon was due in Islamabad late Wednesday for his first visit to Pakistan since taking office. He has called for Solecki's 'immediate and safe release', UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.