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American U.N. official freed in Pakistan

  • Story Highlights
  • U.N. worker kidnapped more than two months ago is freed
  • John Solecki was abducted near the Afghan border on February 2
  • He heads the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office in Quetta, Pakistan
  • Solecki, found in a cottage in Baluchistan province, in police custody
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- An American U.N. worker kidnapped in Pakistan more than two months ago has been freed, officials said.

John Solecki -- abducted near the Afghan border on February 2 -- heads the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office in Quetta, the southwestern Pakistan city and provincial capital of Balochistan.

"I and all of my UNHCR colleagues worldwide are extremely relieved to learn of the safe release of John Solevki after more than two months in captivity," said Antonio Guterres, U.N. high commissioner, in a statement.

"We are especially happy for John's family and friends who have been so supportive during this difficult ordeal. I am particularly grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to secure John's release, including U.N. and UNHCR security staff, Balochi leaders who have provided consistent support, and the Pakistani authorities," Guterres' statement said."UNHCR looks forward to continuing its humanitarian efforts in Pakistan as part of the United Nations team working on behalf of all of the people."

Fakhar ud Din, head of Balochistan province, said Solecki was found in a cottage in the in the village of Khad Koucha in the Mastung District of Balochistan province and was now in police custody.

State Department spokesman Fred Lash said the State Department got a confirmation from the Pakistani government that Solecki has been freed. He is not at the U.S. Embassy but is no longer held hostage by the kidnappers, Lash said.

According to the United Nations, Solecki's driver was killed in the brazen daylight kidnapping in February. Video Watch a UNHCR spokesman speak about the release »

A video that aired February 13 on Pakistan's Geo TV network appeared to show Solecki.

In the video, the man said: "This is a message to the United Nations. I am not feeling well. I'm in trouble. Please help solve the problem soon so I can gain my release."

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Solecki's mother also pleaded for him to be freed in an audio recording released by the United Nations three weeks after the abduction.

Solecki's mother said in the recording that she and her husband are archaeologists who worked in the region when John Solecki and his brother, Bill, were children.

All About PakistanUnited Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesU.S. Department of State

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