Tue, May 01, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Captive British aid worker murdered in Pakistan

AP, QUETTA, PAKISTAN

The body of a British Red Cross worker held captive in Pakistan since January has been found in an orchard, his throat slit and a note attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid, police said.

Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan when armed men seized him from a street close to his office. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.

The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the “barbaric act.”

“All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends,” Yves Daccord said.

Dale’s throat had been slit, according to Safdar Hussain, a doctor who examined the body, which was discovered on Sunday.

Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said the note attached to it read: “This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom.”

Militants and criminal gangs often kidnap wealthy Pakistanis and less commonly, foreigners.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Dale’s killing, and said “tireless efforts” had been under way to secure his release after he was kidnapped.

Khalil had worked for the Red Cross for years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the group said.

Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province, lies close to the Afghan border and for decades has hosted thousands of refugees from that country. The Red Cross operates clinics in the city that treat people wounded in the war in Afghanistan, including Taliban insurgents.

A Pakistani foreign office statement condemned the crime, promising to bring its perpetrators to justice. However, arrests for this type of crime are rare.

Much of Baluchistan and the tribal regions close to Afghanistan are out of Pakistani government control, and make good places to keep hostages. Large ransoms are often paid to secure their release, but such payments are rarely confirmed.

There are at least four other foreigners being held in Pakistan.

Also on Sunday, US missiles killed three suspected Islamist militants sheltering in an abandoned school in North Waziristan, said intelligence officials, who did not give their names because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Pakistan’s government strongly condemned the attack.

In a statement, it said such attacks violate international law and Pakistan’s “territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

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