British hostage in ‘remarkable’ spirits after release by Iraqi militants

A BRITISH computer expert kidnapped in Iraq with four bodyguards in 2007 has been released, Britain said yesterday, adding that he was in “remarkable” spirits.

Peter Moore, 36, had experienced an “unspeakable two-and-a-half years of misery, fear and uncertainty”, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, while lamenting the bodyguards’ deaths.

“Peter was set free by his captors this morning in Baghdad and delivered to the Iraqi authorities. He is now in the care of the British embassy in Baghdad,” he said. “He’s in a remarkable frame of mind given the two-and-a-half years that he has had,” Miliband added.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “I am hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Peter has been freed, and will be reunited with his family as quickly as possible. They have faced a terrible ordeal, and I know that the whole nation will share their joy that he is coming home. I pay tribute to all those who helped in the protracted effort to secure the release.”

IT specialist Moore and his four bodyguards were seized from the finance ministry in Baghdad in May 2007 by some 40 gunmen from a group called the League of the Righteous. Since then the four bodyguards have been confirmed dead or believed to have died: the bodies of Jason Swindlehurst, 38, and Jason Creswell, 39, were handed over to Britain in June, followed by that of Alec MacLachlan in September.

Brown added: “At this moment of celebration, we also remember the families of British hostages who have been killed in Iraq and elsewhere. And we pledge to continue to do everything we can to bring British hostages back to their loved ones, including the remaining hostage of the group in Iraq, Alan McMenemy. I demand that the hostage-takers return him to us.”

Miliband said the release of Moore had been secured following a process of political reconciliation driven by the Iraqi government.

“For many months now, the government of Iraq has been taking forward a process of national reconciliation with armed groups prepared to renounce violence. That process of reconciliation has made possible Peter Moore’s release today. I hope it will lead also to the end of the scourge of hostage-taking and violence.”

However, Miliband added: “The joy and relief that will be felt by Peter’s family will be mirrored by the continuing anguish of the family of Alan McMenemy, the last of the five men taken hostage. We have believed for some time he has been killed.”

In March, the League of the Righteous said it would release the five Britons in exchange for 10 of its leaders being held by American forces in Iraq. The group kidnapped the five in an operation by around 40 heavily armed militants posing as security personnel.


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