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Family Concerned About Health of Freed Columbus Man With AM-Gulf-Foreigners

November 10, 1990

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) _ The family of Miles Hoffman, who was shot in the arm by Iraqi troops in Kuwait and held at a chemical plant near Baghdad, said Friday they were elated that the 33-year-old financial analyst has been freed.

″The first order of business will be to take care of that arm,″ said Hoffman’s brother, Chancellor. ″He needs to get to the hospital.″

Hoffman was one of three Americans and 174 other Westerners who flew to freedom in Germany on Friday after talks between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. They had been detained since Iraqi forces overran Kuwait Aug. 2.

The other two freed Americans were Brenda and Don Swanke. Mrs. Swanke’s parents, Samuel and Gertrude Thomas of Oak Ridge, Tenn., were overjoyed to see their daughter and son-in-law on a television newscast.

″It would be wonderful to have them home by Thanksgiving,″ Mrs. Thomas said.

Hoffman’s family said he was shot when Iraqi soldiers tried to force their way into his Kuwait City apartment on Sept. 5. The bullet shattered a bone in his left forearm and he was hospitalized for about a week.

He was later held at a strategic chemical plant 45 miles south of Baghdad, they said. Westerners in Iraq have been used as ″human shields″ to deter attack by the U.S.-led multinational forces stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Hoffman, a financial analyst with the Kuwaiti government, wore a cast on his arm and appeared to be in pain. Some reports said gangrene had developed from the wound.

″It’s just marvelous. It’s just wonderful,″ Hoffman’s mother, Ann, said of his release.

Mrs. Hoffman said she wasn’t planning a welcome home party just yet.

″If he wants one, we’ll have one,″ she said.

Mrs. Hoffman said her son probably will have other things on his mind, such as getting a job.

″He’ll do exactly what he wants to do,″ she said. ″But I don’t think he’ll stay here.″

Hoffman’s British fiancee, 27-year-old Nicola Murgatroyd, was scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Friday.

Ms. Murgatroyd, who had planned to marry Hoffman Aug. 17, was among 11 British women who traveled to Baghdad Friday to seek the release of their captive husbands and relatives - against the advice of their government.

The British Foreign Office advised the women against going and called the trip ″risky,″ but they ignored the advice.

Mrs. Hoffman, who wrote several letters to Saddam urging her son’s release, said she doesn’t know Ms. Murgatroyd’s whereabouts or whether she knows Hoffman has been released.

″We’re all thinking about Nikki,″ she said.

In Oak Ridge, Mrs. Thomas said she saw her daughter and son-in-law on a Cable News Network report Thursday.

″They’ve lost a lot of weight and looked haggard,″ she said. ″Brenda mouthed, ‘Hi Mom.’ She knew I’d be watching.″

Swanke, who is in his 60s, has a heart problem. ″That is the reason he has gotten out,″ Thomas said.

The Swankes had been living in Kuwait City about eight months before the invasion.Swanke, a vice president of DMJM International, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm, had been hired by the Kuwaiti government to help build a university in the city.

Thomas expects his son-in-law will have to stay in Frankfurt a few days for medical observation before the couple can come home.

″We don’t know for sure if they are coming to Los Angeles or Oak Ridge,″ he said.

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