Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mercy Corps Leaves Pakistan

QUETTA: US-based charity Mercy Corps on Monday shut offices in two of Pakistan's four provinces, citing serious security concerns following the killing of one of its drivers.

Three Mercy Corps aid workers and their driver were kidnapped in February in Qila Saifullah district, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) northwest of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas rich Balochistan province.

The charity shut the offices hours after the kidnappers released a video of the killing of the driver, Habibullah.

“Mercy Corps has shut 40 offices in Baluchistan and four in Sindh in protest against insecurity and the government's failure to recover our kidnapped workers,” provincial head of the charity Doctor Saeedullah Khan told AFP.

“The kidnappers have slaughtered our driver and kept another three workers hostage. This situation has triggered a sense of insecurity among out staff, leaving us with no option but to shut our offices,” Khan said.

He said that the kidnappers were demanding 100 million rupees (one million dollars) as a ransom for the other three hostages.

Akbar Hussain Durrani, a senior government official in Quetta, said the kidnappers are from a criminal gang. The province borders Afghanistan and Iran, and is rife with sectarian insurgency, crime and militants.

From here.

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