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Red Cross worker murdered in Pakistan

The body of a British Red Cross worker who had been held captive in Pakistan since January was found dumped in an orchard Sunday with a note attached to it saying he was killed because a ransom hadn't been paid to his captors, police said.

Khalil Rasjed Dale was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in the south-western part of the country  when armed men seized him from the street close to his office. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross immediately condemned the killing, calling it a  “barbaric act”.

“All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends,” said ICRC director-general Yves Daccord in a statement.

“We are devastated. Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.”

The victim had also worked for the Red Cross in Somalia and Iraq.

Much of Baluchistan and the tribal regions close to Afghanistan are out of government control, and make good places to keep hostages. Large ransoms are often paid to secure their release, but such payments are rarely confirmed.

There are at least four other foreigners currently being held in Pakistan.

In March, a Swiss couple held captive for eight months by the Taliban turned up at an army checkpoint close to the Afghan border. Insurgents have claimed a large ransom was paid to secure their freedom, but that has not been confirmed by Pakistani or Swiss authorities, who are unlikely to acknowledge it even if they did.

The couple was kidnapped from Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR