Official: 2 Swiss kidnapped in SW Pakistan

AP News
Posted: Jul 01, 2011 3:44 PM
Official: 2 Swiss kidnapped in SW Pakistan

Gunmen kidnapped a Swiss man and woman as they were eating at a hotel in Pakistan's southwest Baluchistan province on Friday, an official said.

The kidnapping underscores the deep insecurity in Pakistan, where abductions have been on the rise. Many are carried out by criminals, and some are believed to lead to ransoms that help fund militants.

Authorities were trying to figure out exactly who the Swiss pair were and what they were doing in the Lorali area, local official Sohailur Rehman said.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said it was aware of a possible kidnapping case in Baluchistan. Spokeswoman Jenny Piaget said the ministry was in contact with Pakistan authorities but would give no further details.

The Swiss pair were driving from Punjab province, and when they reached Lorali, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) north of Quetta, the capital of the province, they were given a police escort. However, once they reached its outskirts, beyond the area under the police jurisdiction, they were left without the security guides, Rehman said.

Baluchistan is a particularly dangerous region in Pakistan. It is the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency, and criminal gangs involved in the kidnapping for ransom trade are common.

Most kidnapping victims in the country are Pakistani, but foreign aid workers, diplomats and other foreigners have also been targeted.