Monday, December 24, 2012

Pakistan: Kidnappers of German Aid Worker, Seized 11 Months Ago, Threatened with Death

According to The Associated Press (AP), German aid worker Bernd Muehlenbeck, 59, employed by German Agro Action, who was abducted some 11 months ago by mujahedeen fighters in the city of Multan, appeared in a video on December 22, warning that he would be killed unless his captors demands are met.

In January 2012, gunmen reportedly seized Muehlenbeck and an unnamed Italian colleague outside their offices in Multan and fled with them.

COMMENT: In the undated video lasting roughly a minute, Mr. Muehlenbeck, speaking from a prepared script in English, referred to his captors' demands, but gave no details as to what they were.

He also calmly stated that he and his colleague could be executed in a matter of days unless the demands made to the German government were fulfilled.  

Kidnappings for ransom are frequent occurrence in Pakistan. Several aid workers have been targeted over the past years.

This week also saw a gruesome series of deadly attacks on Pakistanis working on a polio vaccination campaign. Six of the aid workers gunned down were women, three of whom were teenagers. Two other workers were critically wounded.

Western aid organizations are urged to provide their employees and contractors extensive security support in their residences, offices and when traveling to and from project activities. This should also include the use of ballistic resistant vehicles in order to deter and prevent kidnappings.