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British hostage's family seeks Iraqi help
Updated: 2004-09-25 01:36

The British Embassy in Baghdad has distributed 50,000 leaflets carrying a message from the family of a Briton kidnapped in Iraq that pleas with residents to help find the man, the Foreign Office said Friday.

The leaflets were handed out in the western part of the Iraqi capital, where Kenneth Bigley, 62, and two American colleagues were kidnapped from their home last week. The Americans, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, were beheaded earlier this week, and Bigley pleaded for his life in a video posted on the Internet.

"This is a personal appeal from a family whose son is missing," the leaflets said, according to the Foreign Office. "A family man called Ken Bigley is being held somewhere in your community.

"We are Ken's family. Ken's mother, brothers, wife and child love him dearly. We are appealing for your help. We are waiting for him to come home. We appeal to those who have taken him to please return him safely to us."

The leaflet gave a phone number, 07901 926 585, and urged anyone with information that might help to call.

On Thursday, Bigley's 86-year-old mother Lil pleaded with his captors to free him.

"Please show mercy to my Ken and send him home to me alive," she said in a video statement, sitting behind a table between two of her other sons and grasping one's hand. "His family need him. I need him."

Just hours after making her plea, Lil Bigley was taken to a local hospital, where officials said her condition was stable. It was not clear what she was being treated for.

Earlier Thursday, Bigley's wife, Sombat, appealed to the kidnappers from her home in Thailand.

"We have been married for seven years and I love him very much," she said. "I desperately want to be reunited with my husband. I plea for your mercy now, and beg that you release Ken so that I may be with him again."

Bigley's son and brothers have also made public appeals, as has the Foreign Office.

Bigley, who was in Iraq working for a construction company along with his American colleagues, is believed to be held by Tawhid and Jihad, the militant group of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The group has demanded that Iraqi women prisoners be released. The American and British governments say they will not negotiate with the hostage-takers, and insist no women are held at the two prisons they have mentioned.

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