CANON Andrew White, the Chaplain of St George’s, Baghdad, and head of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, spoke on Wednesday of his fears and hopes for the five British men kidnapped in Iraq on Tuesday. Four of them are his close friends.
Speaking from Baghdad to the Church Times, he described the kidnapping as a “very, very complex and difficult situation”. He feared that it could be linked to the killing last week by the British of Abu Qadir (also known as Wissam al-Waili), the leader of the most militant wing of the Mehdi army, a Shia militant group.
The British men were seized near the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, a Mehdi army stronghold. The five ”” a computer expert and four bodyguards ”” were taken from a finance-ministry building. Four worked for GardaWorld, one of many security firms in Iraq guarding VIPs, coalition contractors, and other officials. GardaWorld is a Canadian-owned business, but is staffed mainly by British people.
Employees of the company have given their services free to Canon White because of the importance of his work in Baghdad, and he described them as close friends ”” people with whom he shared his life. The fifth man is a contractor, working for a company providing technical advice to the Iraqi government.
The kidnappers wore police uniforms, and staged the capture without firing a shot, senior Iraq officials told the BBC on Tuesday.