Hostages abroad: Fears grow for Briton missing in Angola

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THERE ARE growing fears for the British hostage Jason Pope, who was kidnapped in an attack on the Angolan diamond mine where he worked. There has been no contact with any group claiming to hold him, and the Foreign Office said it had no news of his fate.

The Unita rebel movement admitted responsibility for the attack seven weeks ago in which eight men died, but has denied taking hostages. The Foreign Office is advising Britons not to travel to Angola unless absolutely necessary. ``It is worrying,'' a spokesman said. ``No group has claimed responsibility.'' Ten employees of the Canadian Diamond Works company have been missing since the attack on Yetwene mine on 8 November.

Those captured were reported to have been marched into the bush. Mr Pope, a geologist aged 24 from Teignmouth, Devon, had worked at an Australian gold mine before moving to Angola.

His parents, Alan and Genevra, have criticised the Foreign Office for revealing the role of the military consultant Tim Spicer, head of the company at the centre of the arms-to-Africa affair, in attempts to trace their son.

Mr Spicer, the director of Sandline International, had been nominated by Diamond Works to represent the company in discussions with the Foreign Office.

His firm was embroiled in controversy over its role in exporting arms to Sierra Leone in defiance of a United Nations embargo, helping to restore a government which had been ousted in a coup.

His role in the Diamond Works kidnapping came to light when the Foreign Office's top civil servant, Sir John Kerr, gave evidence to a parliamentary select committee.