Five British hostages mark grim anniversary of captivity

May 29th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
DPA
London, May 29 (DPA) Relatives of five British civilian contractors held hostage in Iraq marked Thursday the first anniversary of their captivity which has made few public headlines. The men, who worked for a US management consultancy and a Canadian security firm, were abducted in an audacious raid on the finance ministry in Baghdad a year ago.

Up to 40 men, some dressed in Iraqi police uniforms, raided a meeting at the ministry attended by the men.

In interviews and statements Thursday, relatives told of their agony of missing their loved ones.

Britain’s Foreign Office has imposed a virtual news blackout on the case, saying that sensitive negotiations for the men’s release are going on behind the scenes.

Over the past 12 months the kidnappers, calling themselves the Islamic Shia Resistance in Iraq, have released two videos of the captives.

In December, a film was broadcast on Dubai-based TV station Al-Arabiya warning one hostage would be killed unless British troops were withdrawn from Iraq.

A second video, broadcast by al-Arabiya in February, showed one of the men asking Prime Minister Gordon Brown to free nine Iraqis in exchange for the Britons’ release.

The case has not featured in the media as much as other kidnappings in Iraq - including those of Britons Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan.

The Foreign Office said it did not want anything to get in the way of its negotiations, through third parties, to get the men released.
DPA

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