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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Briton missing in Georgia

Two of the patrol are from anti-landmine charity Halo Trust
A Briton is among five people missing in a part of Georgia under the control of separatists, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

They were travelling as a United National patrol in Abkhazia's mountainous Kadori Valley when they were reported missing in Thursday afternoon.

Two are thought to be UN military advisers, two are from the London-based anti-landmine charity Halo Trust and the other is the group's translator.

A New York-based UN spokesman said the incident was not yet being treated as kidnap, adding: "We have had no demands from anyone claiming to hold the group."

Relatives contacted

The Foreign Office is attempting to contact the next of kin of the missing Briton.

The UN lost contact with its group of observers while it was on a routine patrol of the Kadori Valley.

A UN official said the search for the missing people had been called off as night fell in Georgia.

A helicopter and a foot patrol is expected to go out into the valley again at daybreak, around 0900BST on Friday.

Five UN observers, a UN doctor and a translator were taken hostage in the same area last October but all were freed without harm after two days.

Disputed territory

Abkhazia is a small, north-western part of Georgia bordered by Russia and the Black Sea.

It has effectively been independent since separatists forced out government forces during a war in 1992-93.

Peace talks about the region's political future have been stalling.

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21 Dec 99 | Europe
UN returns to help Chechens
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