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Pakistan: Two ICRC staff missing

04-02-2008 News Release 08/21

Islamabad/Geneva (ICRC) – Two employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been missing in Pakistan since Saturday, 2 February.

The field team was on a routine logistical mission in an ICRC-marked vehicle to Torkham, a border town between Pakistan and Afghanistan, when the ICRC's sub-delegation in Peshawar lost radio and phone contact with them. The disappearance took place in one of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, known as Khyber Agency, on a road regularly used to transport relief goods to Afghanistan.

The employees'families have been informed about the situation and any developments.

The ICRC is concerned about the fate of its team members, who are both Pakistani nationals. " We are in direct contact with the national and local authorities, in order to ascertain the circumstances of their disappearance, their current status and whereabouts, and to ensure that they return safe and sound, " said Marc Achermann, the acting head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Peshawar. " The safety of our staff is key to ensuring that people affected by armed violence receive the assistance they need. "

The ICRC, which has been present in Pakistan since 1981, carries out relief activities for the victims of armed violence, including medical help for people wounded in fighting or by mines in the country's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The programme supports several hospitals and medical facilities in Peshawar, Abottabat, Tank, Bannu and Quetta. It includes coverage of surgical and treatment costs, the provision of medicines and medical materials, and training for surgeons and nurses.

Pakistan's western areas have seen an increase in armed clashes between govern ment forces and armed groups over the past seven months. The worst affected areas are the NWFP and the FATA.

The ICRC is a strictly neutral and humanitarian organization, which works to protect and assist people affected by conflict, according to International Humanitarian Law.

  For further information, please contact:
  Marco Succi, ICRC Islamabad, tel +92 300 850 81 38
  Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 79 217 32 64