Video emerges of Swiss hostages in Pakistan

25th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

A video has emerged showing a Swiss couple kidnapped by the Taliban in Pakistan nearly four months ago, flanked by four masked gunmen pointing rifles at their heads.

In the video, which has been posted on YouTube, the man holds up a Pakistani newspaper dated September 15 and the couple speak Swiss German.

Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, appear in relatively good health and call on the Pakistani and Swiss governments to give into the demands of their hostage takers.

Their faces appear to match pictures of the couple that were widely circulated after their kidnapping on July 1. They speak calmly, but kneel before four masked men brandishing their guns at their heads.

Pakistani think-tank, the FATA Research Centre, on its website posted links to the videos on YouTube, without saying how it had obtained the video.

The organisation, which is dedicated to research on Pakistan's lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border where the Taliban and Al-Qaeda allies have bases, was not immediately reachable for comment.

The Swiss foreign ministry did not wish to comment when contacted by AFP, saying only that a crisis group was still working for the release of their two nationals.

The couple were snatched while driving through Baluchistan -- a sparsely-populated southwestern province bordering Iran and Afghanistan that attracts few tourists due to separatist violence and Taliban activity.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed the abduction in July, demanding that they be exchanged for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuro-scientist sentenced in 2010 in New York for the attempted murder of US government agents in Afghanistan.

© 2011 AFP

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