Police aid for kidnap Britons

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The Independent Online
British police negotiators have travelled to Indonesia to help secure the release of four Britons captured by anti-government rebels, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

The three officers from Scotland Yard's international and organised crime branch are understood to be veterans of similar hostage situations in Cambodia and Columbia.

Daniel Start, 21, from London, Bill Oates, 22, from Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, Anna McIvor, 21, from Bournemouth, and Annette van der Kolk, 21, from Fleet, Hampshire, were seized along with three other Europeans and 17 Indonesians by a rebel group seeking independence for the Irian Jaya province.

Nine hostages, all locals, were later released.

The Britons - all Cambridge science graduates - had been living among tribes in one of the world's remotest regions since September while they carried out research into the region's plants and animals.