With the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards near Basra, March 27: The British Army is investigating claims that a man from Manchester who was fighting for Saddam Hussein near Basra has been detained by British forces and is being held in a prisoner of war camp in southern Iraq.
The man, who is believed to be in his mid-20s but who has not been named, was captured on Sunday as he joined Iraqi militia men in civilian clothing in an attack on British forces.
He is now being held at a prisoner of war camp to the south-west of al Zubayr, a short distance from Basra.
A spokesman for the British Army in Iraq said that it was unaware of the detention of the alleged British citizen, but said that investigations would be conducted.
The spokesman added that even if the man was British, no information would be provided because he would be a prisoner of war.
He has told his captors that he travelled to Iraq to fight against the coalition forces, but now wants to return home to England to be reunited with his family in Manchester.
Army officers report that the man has been taunting British soldiers, saying that he intends to live on benefits when he returns to Britain and revelling in the fact that the Geneva Convention, which governs the treatment of prisoners, means that his captors will be unable to punish him or to prevent his return home.
Corporal Jonathan Duffy, 21, an infantryman with the First Battalion Irish Guards, which is part of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards battle group of the Desert Rats, questioned the man, who is believed to be Iraqi-born but claims to have British citizenship, and received a gloating, abusive, response.
“He was being very arrogant and offensive, swearing at everyone,” said Corporal Duffy. “He said that he had come to fight against coalition forces because he didn’t believe in what we were doing. But when it came to it he didn’t fight properly at all, he just surrendered. He was a coward.”
Corporal Duffy who is himself from Manchester, said that the man had been quickly identified as a Briton because he was the only fluent English speaker among Iraqi captives.
“He had a Manchester accent so he stood out immediately. We were asking him to help us to be a translator with the other captives, but he was just being abusive, and saying: ‘Why should I help you' I don’t have to’.
“He told us that he was originally from Iraq, but had emigrated to Britain with his family and had British citizenship.”
“He was calling us mugs. I think he should be shot and hung.”
The man is believed to have relatives in Iraq who helped him to join one of Saddam Hussein’s militia forces.