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Page last updated at 22:04 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 23:04 UK

Pakistani group frees US hostage

John Solecki in an undated family photo
Mr Solecki is head of the UNHCR's office in the province

An American UN worker has been freed by militants two months after he was snatched at gunpoint in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, officials say.

The UN and local police said John Solecki was abandoned by his captors in a village near the city of Quetta.

Mr Solecki, a UN refugee agency (UNHCR) worker, was snatched on 2 February in the city. His driver was killed.

Militants from the hitherto unknown Balochistan Liberation United Front took responsibility for the abduction.

Map

The group has made several statements since the kidnapping claiming that Mr Solecki was in poor health.

But UN spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis said Mr Solecki was "tired but he seems OK".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was very pleased Mr Solecki had been freed and thanked all those who had worked to secure his release.

The BLUF had demanded the release of thousands of prisoners it claimed were being held by the government.

A person claiming to speak for the group contacted local journalists earlier to say the American was being freed on humanitarian grounds.

Militants have been fighting a low-level insurgency in Balochistan for many years.



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