Foreign aid workers kidnapped from Multan

The workers were returning after visiting flood victims in Kot Addu when armed men abducted them.


Afp/owais Jaffery January 19, 2012

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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COMMENTS (25)

arsalan | 9 years ago | Reply

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.

kamran | 9 years ago | Reply 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 Pakistan
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