QUETTA, Feb 7: A hitherto unknown organisation, Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF), on Saturday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of John Solecki, the head of the UN refugee agency in Quetta.

Mr Solecki, an American citizen, was kidnapped and his driver was shot dead after his vehicle was ambushed on Monday.

“We have kidnapped John Solecki and he is alive and in our custody,” a BLUF spokesman, who identified himself as Mir Shakak Baloch, told a reporter for a news agency.

Calling from an unidentified place, he said the group’s men had kidnapped the UNHCR’s Quetta chief to draw the world’s attention to the military operation, arrests of innocent political workers and women and excesses of security forces in Balochistan.

He said the United Nations and other international organisations were not heeding the appeal of Baloch political forces against “atrocities being committed by the armed forces” against the people of Balochistan.

The spokesman sought release of “141 women from the custody of security agencies, recovery of over 6,000 missing people and resolution of the Baloch independence issue” in accordance with the Geneva Convention in return for the release of Mr Solecki.