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Iraq hostage Peter Moore released in good health
I am pleasantly surprised - I feared that, like three of his bodyguards he was dead. The fate of the fourth bodyguard is, as yet, unknown.
Peter Moore, the Briton held hostage in Iraq for two and a half years, thought he was about to be executed when he captors led him out to be released, his family said today.
The IT consultant, 32, was kidnapped in May 2007 with four other British citizens. Three of the hostages were killed and their bodies have been flown back to Britain. Alan McMenemy is still unaccounted for but it is believed that he is also dead.
Mr Moore and his security guards, Mr McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell and Alec MacLachlan, were taken from a Finance Ministry building in Baghdad in May 2007.
The group was captured by about 40 men disguised as Iraqi policemen.
The kidnappers, from Asaib al-Haq (the League of the Righteous), a Shia splinter group, were believed to be holding Mr Moore as well as the body of Mr McMenemy, as bargaining chips in talks with the Iraqi Government.
The Prime Minister said that he was "hugely relieved by the wonderful news" and praised those who had helped to secure the release.
Mr Miliband said the joy felt by Mr Moore and his family would be mirrored by the grief felt by the family of Mr McMenemy, who the Foreign Office believe has been killed. Mr Miliband called on the kidnappers to release the body as soon as possible.
Mr Moore, an IT consultant from Lincoln, was working in Iraq for Bearing Point, an American firm of management consultants.
It seems from information acquired at the time the bodies of the three bodyguards were released that they were separated from Mr Moore early on, and killed early on, while the UK Government were lead to believe ( will give them the benefit of the doubt) that they were alive and negotiations would prove fruitful.
My personal suspicion is that an employee of a US company was perceived as valuable, while the bodyguards, as ex UK soldiers, were perceived as of no value for randsom, and that there would be no threat of rescue or reprisal. Which is a tragedy and another damning indictment of the Brown regime.