Renegade aid workers held in Bosnia

TWO BRITISH men missing in central Bosnia are being held by Muslim forces in Travnik, according to reports. One, a former aid worker called Steve, told a BBC producer he had smuggled ammunition to Muslim troops who were 'down to their last bullets'.

Steve and a second Briton, who had both worked for Feed the Children, are under house arrest in Travnik, apparently because the Muslims suspect them of spying. Some reports say they are also accused of gun-running and demanding money for ferrying civilians out of the area, the scene of fierce fighting between the Muslims and their former Bosnian Croat allies.

The BBC report said Steve looked in reasonable health, with no visible signs of injury, torture or malnutrition.

The men were named by some reports as Steve Pinnock and Linden Foster, although officials would not confirm that. The Press Association news agency reported that Mr Pinnock is thought to come from the Braintree area of Essex, but that his family are said to live in Dorset. Mr Foster is said to be from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.

In June, the two were dismissed as aid workers by Feed the Children, a British charity based in Reading. One man was on a short-term contract while the second, a freelance photographer, joined its team as a volunteer. Both had expressed sympathy for the Muslim cause and were thought to have joined the fight.

The families of the men, who are both in their thirties, told the Foreign Office two weeks ago that they had not heard from them. They had begun working for the charity in May, delivering aid to hospitals, children's homes and people trapped in enclaves. They sometimes travelled with a United Nations escort of British peace-keepers.

For the first five weeks or so the men 'were doing very good work' in a dangerous area, said Peter Annereau, of Feed the Children. Then they began working to their own agenda, failing to file reports and to deliver aid to its intended destination. 'Possibly they got involved,' Mr Annereau said.

'They also began giving lifts to people eager to get out of the war zone. It's very difficult. If you come to a Croat checkpoint and you have six Muslims in the back you are not seen to be impartial.'

The men were said by the BBC to be concerned that, with only one box of ammunition left, a group of Muslims would be massacred by the Croats, and that they had used the charity's Land Rover to smuggle ammunition across the front line.

Their action could endanger the work of aid agencies - both the Serbs and Croats harbour suspicions about food shipments. Last night Bosnian Croats outside Mostar demanded they be allowed to search a convoy for Muslims.

Mr Annereau, the charity's procurement manager, said it was important for workers to remain impartial. 'It might well have jeopardised our operation. It could well have created an additional danger. They allowed their hearts to rule their heads.'

The agency wrote to the pair in June, dispensing with their services. At that point they disappeared in a Feed the Children Land Rover. Some time later they went to Zagreb, contacted the charity and offered to return it. Later still, they appeared in Zenica and British troops there retrieved the vehicle.

The Foreign Office played down a report in yesterday's Daily Express that the men were being held 'under threat of death' and living on bread and water. 'We presume they are not in any immediate danger,' a spokesman said.

He added that the British embassy in Zagreb was trying to find out where the men were and if they were being held against their will. He said that if charges had been laid against the two, they might have to stand trial. 'They seem to have gone back in of their own accord, for their own devices.'

Peace plan needs muscle, page 10

Letters, page 27

Destroying Yugoslavia, page 28

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice