30/04/2012

Red Cross Had Been Negotiating Murdered Hostage's Release

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it was in negotiations to free a kidnapped UK aid worker before he was murdered.

60-year-old Khalil Dale was kidnapped in Quetta, Pakistan, in January. His body was found in the same town on Sunday.

Pakistan expert Professor Shaun Gregory said such a killing was "actually quite rare" in that country.

ICRC spokesman Sean Maguire said it had been in touch with his abductors "a number of times" and that his death would weigh heavily on his colleagues.

"It's a complex political reality on the ground in Pakistan," he said.

"We're certainly not identifying who we were in touch with.

"Often in these sorts of places people say they are something and it turns out that they're not quite what they say they are.

"So we have to sift through the information; we have and try to come to understand what has happened and take what lessons there are to be learnt.

"But his death will weigh heavily on colleagues working in Pakistan and colleagues working in headquarters who ultimately make the decisions about who goes where and who does what."

Some reports say the militants holding Mr Dale had asked for a very large ransom, which could not be paid.

His body was found in an orchard with a note saying he had been killed by the Taliban, local police said.

(H/GK)




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