The kidnapping of aid workers has been on the rise since 2005, and in Pakistan, incidents have been increasing at an alarming rate.
On Monday (Jan. 23), a Kenyan aid worker employed by Care International and his Pakistani driver were reported missing. Police found their abandoned car in the town of Naushahro Feroz. The town’s police chief believes the two are victims of local bandits who kidnap for ransom.
If proven true, the Kenyan will be the fourth kidnapping victim this year in Pakistan, where aid worker insecurity has long been an issue. He will be joining the International Committee of the Red CrossBritish doctor abducted in Quetta at the start of the year and the two European aid workers of Welthungerhilfe taken by unidentified gunmen last week in Multan.
In the latest Aid Worker Security Report, Pakistan placed fourth among the countries with the highest incidence of attacks on aid workers, including kidnappings, in 2009 to 2010. The top three were Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia.
International aid workers are particularly vulnerable to attacks because they are seen as associated with Western military and political campaigns. A noteworthy example is the fake vaccination drive launched by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan last year to locate Osama bin Laden.
The report also highlights the plight of local aid workers, who make up the majority of victims in attacks on aid operations. It recommends local staff and aid workers of international aid agencies’ partner organizations be given increased security. Often, when overseas groups pull out their foreign staff for security reasons, the local aid workers are left with little or no security, the report says.
Despite the rise in kidnapping, the report says attacks against aid workers in general declined in 2009 and 2010. This, however, is due to the decreasing presence of international aid agencies in violent settings and not improved security conditions.
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