Foreign aid workers kidnapped from Multan

Published: January 19, 2012

The aid workers were abducted from their office in Multan.

MULTAN: Two Europeans working with a German NGO for flood rehabilitation in Multan were abducted on Thursday evening from Multan.

Giovanni and Bernd, employees of the “Welthungerhilfe” (German NGO), were returning from Kot Addu after visiting flood hit areas, when they were kidnapped at about 7:20 pm from Western Fort colony, Qasim Bela.

Of those kidnapped Bernd Johannes, who was previously reported as a German, is in fact a Dutch national and was working as an administration officer for south Punjab region based out of Multan. His companion, Giovanni was an Italian national and was working as the program administrator in the same non-governmental organisation.

Intelligence personnel looking in to the case confirmed that foreigners had been missing for last many hours. Following their abduction, their cell phones had been switched off.

A spokesperson for Welthungerhilfe Farzana Shah denied having any information about the matter and said that she could not confirm whether the two personnel had been kidnapped, only that the concerned personnel were out of reach.

An eye witnesses, though, told The Express Tribune that four masked, armed men drove up to their compound in a four wheel drive. Three of them entered the NGO’s building and brought the two aid workers outside with them, stripped naked. They were then moved to an unknown location outside the colony.

According to police officials, one reason for stripping the men could be that the abductors did not wish to be traced via any homing device.

City Police Officer (CPO) Amir Zulfiqar Khan has started questioning neighbours as well as guards at the colony.

Police have cordoned off Multan city and checks on all vehicles entering or exiting Multan have been ordered.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Multan, Mubarik Athar have alerted District Police Officers (DPO) of Multan, Vehari, Khanewal, Bahawalpur and Muzaffargarh too.

Welthungerhilfe has been working in the region for flood affectees. Farzana Shah said that the focal person for security of their organisation was in contact with local security authorities.

Italy confirms kidnapping of citizen

The Italian foreign ministry in Rome issued a statement, without giving further details on his identity.

“(The foreign ministry) confirms the abduction today of an Italian citizen in Multan, in the south of Punjab province,” it said. “The ministry is in permanent contact with the family of the kidnapped person.”

The ministry has activated its crisis unit and minister Giulio Terzi has asked to be constantly informed of  developments, the statement said.

“As already in the past in similar situations,” the ministry “will be discreet and is seeking cooperation from the media in this context so as not to compromise efforts at freeing our compatriot,” said the foreign ministry statement.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • hamzad
    Jan 19, 2012 - 11:35PM

    EXcellent.western.NGOs are the curse on Pakistan…we need Muslim Islami people aropund..not the ones spreading anti-islami theories under the guise of “help”..they themselves are bankrupt , morally and financially…it is THEY who need to be converted.Recommend

  • Falcon
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:29AM

    @hamzad:
    For the love of Lord…a human being who wants to help out is respectable whatever religion he / she come from…secondly, if our ‘Muslim’ brothers all over the world were doing what they were supposed to do to begin with…it is we who would have been helping other nations rather than other way around!

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  • faraz
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:51AM

    @Hamzad

    You are happy that foreigners helping flood victims have been kidnapped. Unbelievable. Why are you using the internet, a Western invention, that might harm your so called ”ideology’. And why do you read and write in English, a foreign language. Just learn Arabic and ride camels.

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  • John B
    Jan 20, 2012 - 1:01AM

    What bothers me most is not the Kidnapping. The aid workers kidnapping is no more serious than the kidnapping, mutilation, and rape of thousands of innocent people in pak who are caught in cross fire.

    What is bothersome are people like the commentator “Hamzad” above and the three other people who agreed with his comments. These are the most dangerous people of / to Pak.

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  • Mj
    Jan 20, 2012 - 1:15AM

    @hamzad:
    You are a reprehensible person with contemptible views. (unless I missed the very subtle sarcasm)

    What a terrible way to payback those few brave people who come to this dismal country to selflessly help others in much need of it. Hoping for their safe return.

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  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jan 20, 2012 - 1:58AM

    Shame on you hamzad, people like you need to be converted. These aid workers are our guests, they are here to help poor and sick people.

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  • Yusuf Al-Kafir
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Hamzad

    I’ll remember what you said the next time I am at the Liquor Store here in Canada and they are asking for donations for flood relief or whatever else in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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  • JoelB
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:33AM

    @Hamzad, you are an ignoramus.

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  • Saleem
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:40AM

    Pathetic, disgusting, and shameful!!! I work for an international organization in an African country plagued with civil war, tribal conflict, discrimination, poverty and injustice. I am proud that democratic institutions are far better in my county……but I feel safer here than my own country.

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  • Amir
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:45AM

    @Falcon:
    I beg to disagree, hundreds of spies from international intelligence agencies working under the guise of “NGO workers” have been identified and sent back by ISI to thier countries, and still there are hundreds of them to be sent back, good job ISI, well done and keep it up. its time we win our country back from any adventurers who think they can do what ever they want on our soil and can get away with it.

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  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Jan 20, 2012 - 3:22AM

    Flood happened in 2010, what were they still doing there??????????

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  • Cautious
    Jan 20, 2012 - 3:28AM

    @hamzad
    Comments like yours are one of the reasons that the World has a poor opinion of Pakistan. Nobody deserves to be kidnapped – especially charity workers. If you don’t like Western charity workers – so be it – but I suspect those who are receiving help don’t agree with your nasty comments. Recommend

  • MA
    Jan 20, 2012 - 4:59AM

    Ppl calm down,,,, we all know who “Hamzad” really is! …*psk*Recommend

  • Rameez
    Jan 20, 2012 - 5:08AM

    My heart goes out to the aid workers and there families i hope they return home safely they were only trying to help and to people like Hamzad you really need to have your brain examined your sick and you disgust me People like you who dont care and respect human life are the ones giving all pakis a bad name please go and troll some place else

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  • Jan 20, 2012 - 5:52AM

    @hamzad:
    disgusting comments….

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  • wahab
    Jan 20, 2012 - 9:13AM

    A really sad incident… @hamzad: Shame 0n you, people like u are s curse for Pakistan.. may God save these foreginers from terrorists and save us from people like u

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  • Amir
    Jan 20, 2012 - 9:22AM

    @faraz:
    do you think islam is about speaking in arabic and riding camels, seriously dude watch what you say on web sites. Recommend

  • Beginner
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Please guys don’t fight here everyone has their own perspective. If we start fighting then what will others think about us. It’s time to unite all of us.

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  • v.proudpakistani
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:18PM

    @Faraz’s comments, Love the so-called brainwashed “liberal Pakistanis” who only seem to care when a liberal or a westerner is harmed but ignore their so called countrymen in their backyard and the plight THAT does matter. This is the trend constantly seen here in this website. Also, your comment literally says to me “I love everything western and despise my people and religion because they didn’t contribute crap.” I am a history-freak and I assure you, open up an unbiased textbook and appreciate your religion and her people and not just of the western people.

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  • Shell Shocked
    Jan 20, 2012 - 2:35PM

    @ hamzad

    An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

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  • Jan 20, 2012 - 4:00PM

    I cant believe people still go to Pakistan for help. its rated the 12st most failed Country and a Terrorist haven for a reason.

    If they want to do good there are opportunities all over the World. Pakistan is just not safe for outsiders. They can serve humanity better by staying alive.

    For those who do not agree with me just see the comments of the few above who are violently accusing them of nefarious things. It only takes one to kill the aid workers.

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  • Amira
    Jan 20, 2012 - 4:03PM

    @Cautious:
    Forgot the floods in Sindh and Balochistan last monsoon (2011)?????

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  • faraz
    Jan 20, 2012 - 8:40PM

    @v.proudpakistani

    Where did I say it’s fine if locals get kidnapped? You are hallucinating. You are imagining things that I haven’t said, and then commenting on it. can’t be that irrational. Say something that makes senseRecommend

  • kamran
    Jan 20, 2012 - 9:18PM

    I am ashamed by the comments in which few of my friends have called the foreigners in this county working with NGO’s spies. I would like to bring to attention a few facts. Pakistan has been blessed with lovely people especially in rural Pakistan who though living on the breadline extend the best of wishes n prayers, it is why foreigners who come here choose to die here.Dr Ruth Pfau the founder of the leprosy centre MALC is a German lady here from the past 60 years, a lady we all in Pakistan lov for her services; her leprosy services are commendable. Brother Norman Schwan, came to Pakistan after the Vietnam war, her works with the drug addicts and HIV patients, the people of my country lov him and flock around him. Mr langland, a British, the principal of Cadet College Razmak, who is here from the past 60 years and serves the tribes in education, the tribes lov him. Mr Cashpaul the founder of cadet college Hasan abdal died here, all remember his services. There are doctors in Bach Christian Hospital Abbotabad, mostly Americans, who have studied from the Harvard medical school, a surgeon here from the pas 40 years; he cant leave Pakistan because this is his land. The US eye surgeon who’s contribution is the Taxila Eye hospital, the hospital serves people upto Afghanistan. There is a Dr Anita who is a gyneacologist in Kohistan, from many years. I have heard of a lady dr buried in Bannu Christian hospital, who requested to be intered here. These are just a few there are many others. The people who come to my country are cemented to it by the love it gives. People continue to serve, cz our people offer them the love and prayers which are a source of inspiration for many. The common man loves these heroes as they consider them Pakistanis.
    I am happy that the majority of my countymen in the comments have condemned the kidnapping.
    God bless PakistanRecommend

  • arsalan
    Jan 21, 2012 - 2:50AM

    Well said Kamran. This incident is shameful, and a blot on our nation. Dont know when Pakistanis will come to their senses. Sharam ani chahiye aisi harkaton pay.

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