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Scots oil worker held hostage on Iraqi platform is released

Father-of-three Brock Fettes, 65, of Insch, Aberdeenshire, was working in Kurdistan, northern Iraq.

Glasgow man among Iraq bodies

A Scots oil worker held hostage on a platform in Iraq has been released, his family has revealed.

Father-of-three Brock Fettes, 65, of Insch, Aberdeenshire, was working on the HKN Energy Platform in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, when a group of armed men stormed the oil rig.

Rosie Wilson-Leagas, Brock's wife, said more than 100 people had been trapped at the Schlumberger-owned base with the captors demanding $1m before releasing the hostages.

It is unclear how the hostages were released, but Ms Wilson-Leagas is just thankful her husband - who is due to retire in the next few years - can now return home safely.

She said: "Thankfully it's all over now and I'm looking forward to him coming back home. I found out about it a couple of days ago in an email. Brock said that there were people down the road with guns, but that he was safe.

"He told me that some of the locals had stopped supplies and people coming in and out of the rig complex. But the thing about Iraq is that all local people are armed and you just have to stay calm.

"A few years ago there was a situation where people were firing at each other, but none of the workers were hurt and I believe no one has been hurt in this incident either.

"I've heard the situation has been resolved now, although I haven't spoken to Brock yet. Everyone says that Kurdistan is safe, but this is proving that it is not as safe as everyone thought it was.

"He has always worked in places like this and wouldn't have had our son out there if he hadn't thought it was safe.

"But I really hope the company haven't paid the captors off because it would leave it open for other groups to do the same to other rigs."

Mr Fettes, a directional engineer, said they had to shut down their onshore rig after the armed men - thought to be locals - stopped people coming in and out of the base.

He said: "The local villagers came to the rig heavily armed and made us shut the rig down. This is one of the safer parts of Iraq but it is still fairly lawless. The locals control the area."

Mr Fettes, who has worked in the region for about four years, insisted there had been calm at the base and he hoped Schlumberger had not paid a ransom for them as it could start a mass free-for-all in the area.

He said: "My concern is this happening again. If they get paid off this time, it will become the national sport for villagers to target oil rigs. They will all be doing it.

"The oil company concerned is in denial, and won't admit that anything is going on because they don't want to lose the contract."

Mr Fettes and his wife have three children called Beatrice, Brock and Max, who are aged between 20 and 25.

Brock Jr even undertook three months of work experience at the same HKN rig last October, but he still has the support of parents, despite the ordeal of the last few days.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed that the hostages had been released safely in Kurdistan, but would not comment on whether the ransom was paid.

He said: "I can confirm that five Britons were caught up in the situation and at least one of them is from North-east Scotland.

"We understand that the situation has now been resolved. We wouldn't be able to comment on whether any money was exchanged. When it comes to any payments the British Government does not comment on that."

Three months ago, 32 terrorists from Al Qaeda took hold of a gas plant at In Amenas, Algeria, and killed 37 foreign hostages in the process, before Algerian soldiers retook the gas plant some days later.

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