ISLAMABAD: A Kenyan aid worker working for an international charity and his Pakistani driver are missing, feared abducted in flood-hit Sindh province, police said Monday.
Police official Saqib Ismail said the Kenyan works for Care International and that his car was found abandoned in the town of Naushahro Feroz on Sunday, about three hours after he and his driver set out from the town of Sukkur.
Since then, there has been no news of their whereabouts.
Six foreigners, four of them aid and development workers, have already been abducted since July in Pakistan.
The Kenyan was reported missing in an area badly affected by devastating floods in 2010 and 2011 that mobilised a huge international aid operation. Javed Suharo Jaskani, police chief of Naushahro Feroz said a foreigner aged around 40 who had been working in Pakistan for about a year was missing.
“He left (the town of) Sukkur for Dadu yesterday and his car was found abandoned at Naushahro Feroz,” said Jaskani.
“We believe local bandits have kidnapped him for ransom,” Jaskani said.
Nothing appeared to have been taken from the vehicle, with the foreigner’s laptop and bag containing his personal effects left behind, he added.
“We are hopeful he will be recovered,” Jaskani told AFP by telephone.
Osman Ibrahim, Kenya’s acting high commissioner to Pakistan, told AFP that the mission was working to confirm whether the foreigner is Kenyan.
“They told us he is working for Care International. They gave us a name and we are still trying to check if he is Kenyan,” Ibrahim said.
“Police told us that so far, nobody has asked for any ransom.”
PakSafe, which provides security risk assessment to international charities in Pakistan, confirmed only the disappearance of a foreigner and a Pakistani working for an international organisation on Sunday.
The men disappeared just three days after masked gunmen kidnapped a German aid worker and his Italian colleague in Multan.
Kidnappings are a plague in parts of Pakistan, where criminals snatch foreigners and locals for ransom, sometimes selling their hostages onto Taliban and al Qaeda-linked groups. Earlier this month, gunmen kidnapped a British man working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Quetta.
Last August, an American development director, Warren Weinstein, 70, was snatched from his home in Lahore and in July a Swiss couple were kidnapped while driving through Baluchistan.
The Taliban claim to be holding the Swiss and videos have been released of the couple in captivity. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also claims to be holding Weinstein, but the terror group has released no proof of life.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.