QUETTA - At least eight Pakistani aid workers of a US-based NGO American Refugee Committee (ARC) were kidnapped by unidentified armed persons when they were returning from an Afghan refugee camp on main Quetta-Chaman highway in Pishin district, some 55km north of Quetta. Official sources said that the aid workers were returning from field work in Surkhab Afghan refugee camp on Tuesday afternoon when unknown armed men intercepted their vehicle and took them away alongwith the official vehicle. They were identified as Izzatullah, Mujibur Rahman, Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Saeed, Nasrullah, Sabir, Naseebullah and driver Muhammad Khalil. Deputy Commissioner Pishin Abdul Mansoor Kakar told this scribe that the eight staffers of ARC were kidnapped in the afternoon and the local administration was informed by the organisational officials in the night for unknown reasons. He said that after lapse of six hours of the incident, the information was passed on that infact helped the abductors to flee. However, he said, administration was making all efforts for the safe recovery of ARC employees by sending the raiding parties to different areas. Zafarullah Baloch, Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Balochistan talking to media persons said that the aid workers, all Pakistani citizens, were returning after their work in the afternoon in two vehicles. He said that the first vehicle carrying female staff safely returned to its destination while another vehicle of male workers was intercepted by armed persons. Some of the government officials believed that infact six hours gap between occurrence and informing the administration helped the kidnappers to reach to border areas. They also rejected the possibility of involvement of militants and believed that they must be criminals who kidnapped the workers for ransom. American Refugee Committee (ARC) has been working in refugee camps of Quetta and Pishin districts of Balochistan since 2002 in providing health care and training members of the community in basic health services. It runs a hospital in Surkhab camp in collaboration with UNHCR. It may be mentioned here that a Swiss couple was also kidnapped by unidentified people in the first week of July this year from Zhob district and it is believed they were shifted to Waziristan.