QUETTA, Pakistan (The Blaze/AP) — The beheaded 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, 60, was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan 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 ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act,” said its director-general, Yves Daccord.
According to Reuters, police found Dale’s head and body wrapped in plastic near a western bypass road. His name was written on the bag with black marker. The Telegraph reported his body was also riddled with bullets.
“A sharp knife was used to sever his head from the body,” Safdar Hussain, the first doctor to examine the body, said according to Reuters. “He was killed about 12 hours ago.”
Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said the note attached to the body read: “This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount.”
Militants and criminal gangs often kidnap wealthy Pakistanis and less commonly foreigners.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Dale’s killing, calling it a “senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan.”
According to the Telegraph, Dale converted to Islam 30 years ago and had worked for the Red Cross in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been working in Pakistan for close to a year.
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.
Last August, a 70-year-old American humanitarian aid worker was kidnapped from his house in the Punjabi city of Lahore. Al-Qaida claimed to be holding the man, Warren Weinstein, and said in a video he would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
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.