Police ‘absolutely clueless’ about UN official’s abduction


Police ‘absolutely clueless’ about UN official’s abduction

* 15 arrested from Quetta on Monday g Security heightened on Chaman crossing
* No claims of responsibility so far

By Malik Siraj Akbar

QUETTA: Police and intelligence agencies said on Tuesday they were ‘absolutely clueless’ about the kidnappers of John Solecki, the American head of the Quetta chapter of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Police in Quetta said it had rounded up about 15 suspects from various parts of the provincial capital in connection to their alleged links with the kidnapping. But police insiders told Daily Times that none of the arrested people, including a notorious criminal, could lead the police to the abductors.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said the kidnapping was an effort to destabilise his government and disrepute him.

“We can’t stop an American team if it wants to come and investigate the matter,” he said while talking to the media on Tuesday.

On the other hand, ministers from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam said they would resist the arrival of an American team to Quetta, saying Pakistani officials should investigate the incident.

Security has been heightened in Quetta and at the Chaman border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Government officials do not rule out the possibility of Solecki being taken to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a team of United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) arrived from Islamabad to Quetta on Tuesday. The team inspected the area and gathered information about the incident.

While there were speculations of a UN team arriving to Quetta from the USA, a UN spokesman told Daily Times that no such team had come yet.

“We are in touch with the government authorities who keep visiting us regularly,” said the spokesman, “but the biggest problem so far is that no one knows where John is and who kidnapped him.”

Solecki was abducted at gunpoint on Monday while travelling to work. His driver was killed in a hail of bullets.

No one has claimed responsibility so far.

The UNHCR works for registration, relief, and voluntary repatriation of the refugees.

Quetta has been the centre of religious and separatist insurgencies for several years, Monday’s abduction was the first of a foreigner from the provincial capital. In the past, groups believed to be linked to Taliban or Al Qaeda have abducted foreign diplomats and engineers in the NWFP.

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