Allawi hint raises hopes for Bigley's release

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The Independent Online

Three weeks after the abduction of the British hostage Ken Bigley,there were hints yesterday that efforts to free him were gathering pace.

Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, called continuing attempts to secure his release "quite good".

But Mr Allawi refused to say whether a ransom was being negotiated. "There are certainly areas which are quite good," Mr Allawi said. "We are trying very hard. The situation is dynamic. We don't know whether it will produce a good result."

Mr Bigley, 62, an engineer from Liverpool, was abducted from his Baghdad home by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group, which executed his two colleagues.

Earlier this week, Mr Bigley, whose mother was born in Dublin, was granted an Irish passport in an attempt to secure his release, and yesterday, the family of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi appealed for the kidnappers to free the hostage.