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Sunday, October 3, 1999 Published at 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK


Fears grow for Kosovo Britons

The men were leaving Prisina bound for London

Concern is growing for the safety of two British television company workers who have been missing in Kosovo for more than a week.

K-For troops and the UN mission in Pristina have carried out searches for TV engineer Kenneth Suckling, 53, and driver James Free, 33, who were last seen leaving the city on 25 September.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas:"The men had spent two weeks in Kosovo"
The pair, who work for UK-based SNG Broadcast Services, had been in Pristina for two weeks and were about to embark on the first leg of their journey back to London.

They had been working on a project to set up a public service TV station in the province's capital.

Both are highly experienced in working abroad and were equipped with mobile phones that worked in the region.

Telephone silence

A company spokesman said: "We are extremely concerned that we have heard nothing from these two men for over a week, and we appeal to anyone who may be able to help trace them."

Mr Suckling, from Portsmouth, and Mr Free, from London, were planning to drive through Macedonia to Thessaloniki in Greece, then on to London, the spokesman said.

Officials are trying to establish whether the pair crossed over into Macedonia.

He said: "We would have expected them to be in contact several times a day but we have heard nothing.

"They both have the means to communicate but they have not done so at all.

"We are just very concerned, we just do not know what has happened to them."

No evidence of abduction

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that two Britons were missing and efforts were being made to trace them.

"We are engaged in trying to find them. We have notified Interpol and we have made contact with other people in the region such as K-For and the UN mission police who have carried out a thorough search.

"K-For has also carried out a ground and air search of the roads leading south from Pristina.

"At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest they have been abducted.

"There has been no contact from anyone claiming to hold them."

The partner of one of the missing men had been informed but officials are still trying to contact the family of the other man.

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