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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Hunt for seized Britons continues
Canon Andrew White
Canon Andrew White said authorities were doing all they could
Authorities are not giving up the search for five Britons abducted in the Iraqi capital Baghdad this week, Canon Andrew White has said.

The five - four guards and a financial adviser - were captured on Tuesday.

"We ourselves, the British Embassy and every party involved is doing all they can," the Anglican vicar of Baghdad said on the BBC's Today programme.

US troops have carried out searches for the missing men in the Shia-controlled Sadr City area of Baghdad.

The men were taken from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad by a group of up to 40 men, some of whom were said to have been dressed in police uniforms.

'Terrible situation'

Canon White said the city had been wracked by sectarian strife, with different government departments infiltrated by sparring militia groups.

"We are in a terrible situation," he said. "We haven't even been able to meet in church today," he said.

"The efforts of the Americans and US troops are important. We agree we need them. But the fact is that life on the ground here is getting very significantly worse.

"There is a major sectarian struggle, a major issue in the rise of sectarian violence."

An Iraqi soldier searching a vehicle
Troops and police are searching for the missing Britons

He said: "We are seeing a huge measure of sectarianism in each Government ministry and the people are suffering because of it."

Canon White, an experienced hostage negotiator, has said he personally knows the men involved.

The four kidnapped security guards were working for Canadian-owned security firm GardaWorld. The company provides security for Canon White.

The fifth person works for a US management consultancy, BearingPoint.

Witnesses said the street where the ministry is located was sealed off at both ends and the kidnappers walked past ministry guards.

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