Senior UN official abducted, driver killed in Pakistan (Lead)

February 2nd, 2009 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Quetta, Feb 2 (IANS) A senior official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was kidnapped Monday by some unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan.The police said the kidnappers opened fire on the car of the UNHCR chief of Balochistan, John Solecki, as soon as he left the home for office, The News reported.

Syed Hashim Raza, the driver of the car has been killed. The gunmen abducted the official, it said.

Senior police officials have reached the scene after the incident and the area has been cordoned off, the report said, adding that the police have begun a search operation for the recovery of the UNHCR official.

The UNHCR, meanwhile, said it was investigating the reports of the kidnapping.

Following the incident, security at all offices of the UN and foreign NGOs have been beefed up, the report added.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Balochistan is facing an insurgency by ethnic Baloch tribesmen, who are seeking more provincial autonomy and a greater share of profits from the area’s natural resources.

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