Sunday, October 03, 2004
Gadaffi family to help hostage?
The brother of British hostage Ken Bigley says he has received a pledge from the Gadaffi family that they will help efforts to secure his release.
Paul Bigley said that Colonel Gadaffi's London-based son Saif had contacted his father to urge him to use his contacts in the Middle East to broker the 62-year-old's release.
The news came as two bodies, one a man with a severed head, were found south of Baghdad. A Foreign Office spokesman said it is not yet known if the corpse could be Liverpool-born Mr Bigley.
Iraqi police said the dead appeared to be Westerners but confirmed no identification has been made.
Paul Bigley said: "We just have to keep hoping and try to remain confident that Kenneth will come home safe.
"It is worrying to hear about the discovery of bodies, but the family have felt more positive following the release of other hostages."
He revealed that he contacted Saif Gadaffi, the Libyan leader's second eldest son, after a number was passed on from an English journalist.
"Saif said he had heard about the situation and asked what he could do," said Mr Bigley. "I said 'Why don't you give your dad a call?' and he promised he would.
"Not long afterwards I had a call from the Gadaffi Foundation in Libya, who have pledged to do all they can to help us. They said they would do their very, very best."
Mr Bigley said he is also continuing attempts to verify Kuwaiti reports which suggested an Iraqi group are holding talks to "buy back" the hostage from his captors.
The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai al-Aam said the same militant group which assisted in the release of two female Italian hostages has turned its attention to Mr Bigley.
An article in the publication read: "There's near certain information that points to the entry of an Iraqi militant group into negotiations and mediation with the Tawhid and Jihad Group for the release of the British hostage."
"It is grounds for optimism, because of this group's involvement with the two Italian women. All we can do is hope their claims are genuine," said Mr Bigley, from his home in Amsterdam.
"The Foreign Office is also doing a grand job and I have no doubts that the Government are doing their very best for us, even if they are not in a position to talk about that work."
Kenneth, who has now been in captivity for 18 days, is being held by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his Tawhid and Jihad group, who have already beheaded his two American co-workers.