Tuesday, December 8, 1998 Published at 17:07 GMT
Chechnya kidnap victims dead
The Chechen government has failed to maintain law and order
Eyewitnesses say their severed heads were found on a highway together with personal documents, close to the border with the Russian region of Ingushetia.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin was "deeply disturbed" by the beheadings, a Kremlin spokesman said.
The Chechen President, Aslan Maskhadov, said one explanation for the killings might be that the Chechen government's anti-terrorist squad had been closing in on the kidnap gang and it might have panicked.
The other victim has been identified as New Zealander Stanley Shaw.
The four men had arrived in the republic despite official warnings of the dangers to install a mobile telephone system.
Mr Hickey, Mr Petschi and Mr Shaw were employed by a Surrey-based firm, Granger Telecom.
Mr Kennedy was a former BT employee whose specialist skills in satellite links led him to Chechnya on a freelance, short-term contract.
After the kidnapping, the UK Foreign Office said the men and their employer had ignored warnings to avoid Chechnya.
However, Granger Telecom denied it had ignored the advice, and insisted it had provided adequate security for its employees.
The kidnapping came shortly after the release of British hostages Jon James and Camilla Carr, both aid workers who were held for over a year after being kidnapped in Chechnya.
Notorious for kidnappings
Chechnya has become notorious for kidnappings and other crime, but it is highly unusual for kidnap victims to be murdered.
Chechnya unilaterally declared independence from Russia in 1991. Russian troops failed to recapture the territory despite intense fighting with the rebels in 1994.
A 1996 ceasefire left Moscow with no effective authority over Chechnya, though it has not acknowledged the territory's independence.
The de facto government has so far proved unable to maintain law and order in the region.