British Hostage Kenneth Bigley Handed Over to Another Group

British hostage in Iraq possibly handed over to another group:brother (Xinhuanet)

The brother of Briton Kenneth Bigley who has been held hostage in Iraq said Monday that the hostage might have been handed over to a group which was preparing to make a ransom demand. Bigley was kidnapped on Sept. 16 in Baghdad along with two Americans who have since been beheaded by the captors who are related with the Tawhid and Jihad group, controlled by Al-Qaida suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The group has claimed to be holding the 62-year-old engineer and demanded the release of female prisoners in Iraq.

“I am getting communiques from dear friends of mine, business friends and personal friends who are based in Kuwait that Ken possibly, and I reiterate possibly, has been handed over from the political baddies to the regular baddies,” Paul Bigley said in an interview with the Sky News. The information was understood to have first appeared in a Kuwaiti newspaper, which reported Saturday that a militant group in Iraq was prepared to negotiate the release of Bigley, Paul said. The process of freeing Bigley would be made a “little easier” if the reports were accurate, Paul also told the BBC. If the whole scenario has switched from a political scenario to a financial one, it makes it a little easier,” Paul said.

The British Foreign Office said it was investigating the reports. The British government, which vowed to do whatever it could to win Bigley’s release, has insisted that it would not negotiate with terrorists. However, British Prime Minister Tony Blair last week encouraged the kidnappers to make contact with the British government.

Ransom may be sought for British hostage (WaTi – UPI)

The brother of a kidnapped British man in Iraq says his brother has been turned over to another group and a ransom demand is expected. Paul Bigley told reporters he had been told by sources in Kuwait and elsewhere his 62-year-old brother Ken had been turned over to the same organization that last week released two Italian women, and a demand for a large cash ransom was expected, Sky News reported. “I would much rather be dealing with people talking money than ones holding a government to ransom,” he said. “Funds can always be found, somehow.”

In the meantime, Bigley said he had contacted the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi seeking assistance in freeing his brother, who was taken captive 19 days ago in Baghdad, The Mirror said. “Not long afterwards I had a call from the Gadhafi Foundation in Libya, who have pledged to do all they can to help us,” Bigley said.

There was no ransom demand made for two U.S. men taken along with Bigley, and they were found beheaded days after.

Quite bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.