Kidnapped British aid worker killed in Pakistan: Red Cross
A BRITISH aid worker has been found dead in Pakistan almost four months after being snatched off the street by masked gunman in the insurgency-hit southwest, the Red Cross said on Sunday.
Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, had been managing a health programme in Quetta, the main town of Baluchistan province, for almost a year when he was kidnapped on January 5 while returning home from work.
Eight masked gunmen were lying in wait for Dale, a British Muslim, and forced him out of his car at gunpoint in front of the Red Cross office, according to police.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had received confirmation Dale had been “murdered”.
“The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act,” said Director-General Yves Daccord. “All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends.” “We are devastated,” Daccord said, adding that Khalil who had worked in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq for the aid group was a “trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member”.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said London had tried tirelessly to secure Dale’s release. “This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Dale,” he said in a statement.
The ICRC had announced a reduction of its activities in Pakistan just days before Dale’s kidnap with the closure of three of its centres in the northwest.
But after Dale’s abduction, the organisation vowed to continue its work in the troubled country.
In Baluchistan, the ICRC mainly focuses on health programmes and supports several medical centres, including a hospital.
Kidnappings plague parts of Baluchistan and northwest Pakistan, where criminals looking for ransom snatch foreigners and locals, sometimes passing their hostages on to Taliban and Al Qaedalinked groups.
Baluchistan has seen a recent surge in violence, linked to a separatist insurgency, sectarian violence and Taliban militants.
Local rebels rose up in 2004 demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s natural oil, gas and mineral resources.