Families of British hostages declare: it's not our war

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Families of the British hostages held in Bosnia attacked the Government's handling of the situation last night and called for the immediate withdrawal of the UN peacekeepers.

Allen Warren, whose son, Sgt Nicholas Warren, is one of the hostages, described the British policy that allowed the hostages to be taken as a "cock-up".

He said: "We knew last week that these people were taking hostages. We knew something was coming so why was nothing done? Why were no precautions taken? It's not our war. It's nor our problem.

"The politicians have made lots of cock-ups. If the military are told to go in and do a job then they do it as efficiently as possible. It's just the idiots back home trying to run things that create the problems.

"I don't know if they're doing the same as Mrs Thatcher and trying to win an election. They just don't live in the real world.''

Sgt Warren, 28, has always been devoted to the army. At 12 he lied about his age to join the cadets. He left school at 16 to join the junior fusiliers and graduated to the full-time army a year later. At 26 he was promoted to sergeant.

He was transferred to Bosnia in February, leaving behind his wife, Claire, who is pregnant with their second child.

The lack of information on the hostages' fate is beginning to take its toll on the family, who get most of their information from newspapers and television. "It's very worrying but I'm trying not to let it upset me for the sake of the baby," Claire Warren said.

"I just had a sinking feeling when I heard about the hostages. I knew it was Nick. The army say they cannot give me any details but I'm trying my best to be optimistic."

However, a spokesman for the Royal Welch Fusiliers, said they had been passing on information to relatives scattered across Wales.

"We are doing our best to protect the families and keep them informed. Morale is high and we are trying to keep it high," he said.

"Our task is to reassure them and sort out fact from rumour."

Families at the Fusiliers' base in Brawdy, Dyfed, were told not to speak to reporters, and warned in a notice that "rumours can seriously damage your health."

Patricia Scoble, mother of hostage Lance Corporal Glyn Scoble, said: "I keep on bursting into tears because I can't get it out my mind.

"My son is the bravest man I know but who knows what hell he is going through."

Glyn's father, Derek Scoble, of LLanedeyrn, Cardiff, said the regiment told him on Sunday night that his 26-year-old son was a hostage, but there was very little other information available.

"We hear they are being moved about a bit but there is no concrete news. We have been told he is safe and being looked after," he said. "I'm just praying he will be safe and come home to us."

Pauline Jones, whose 19-year-old son Lee was one of those captured, said she could hardly sleep last night.

"I didn't expect there to be too much trouble out there - it's only peacekeeping, but now this has happened. It's turned out bad," she said. "If John Major had his son there he'd get them out."