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Kidnapped American UN worker freed in Pakistan

AN American UN worker abducted more than two months ago turned up unharmed yesterday, lying alongside a road in western Pakistan with his hands and feet bound and pleading "Help me, help me," the man who found him said.

John Solecki was discovered last night abandoned in a village some 30 miles south of Quetta near the Afghan border after his captors called a local news agency to tell them where to look, officials said. At one point, the kidnappers had threatened to behead him.

Mohammed Anwar, the owner of a restaurant alongside the main Quetta-Karachi highway, told reporters that he found a bound Solecki lying in the dirt near a wall. Anwar said he heard a voice in the gloom saying "Help me, help me" in English.

Solecki made no public comment. Police and UN officials declined to discuss what led to his release. UN officials who met with him reported that he was "tired but all right," UN spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis said.

Pagonis would not say when Solecki, who headed the UN refugee agency's operations in Quetta, would leave Pakistan but said he would be reunited with his family "as soon as possible."


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