THE family of missing Forest man Douglas Kear has been told by Cheltenham Lib-Dem MP Nigel Jones that he fears he was murdered shortly after being abducted.

Mr Kear's brother Dennis said on Monday the MP had done "more than could be expected" on his recent trip to Uganda to find out about Douglas's fate.

Mr Kear disappeared in August 1998 to the consternation of members of his family still living in the Forest. Two Swedish nationals who were with him also vanished, although a Canadian woman hostage was released.

Dennis Kear said he felt there was little hope of finding Douglas alive but it was necessary to find out exactly what had happened to him.

"After all this time it would be hard to hide somebody out in the country – it is very mountainous with high rainfall and although it is on the equator it can be very cold," he said.

"It is very difficult to gain any kind of intelligence because people do not want to be seen to be aligned with Hutus or Tutsis or any of the other rebel groups, of which there are many.

"The good thing to come out of Mr Jones' talks is that an all-party committee of MPs has been set up to further ties with Uganda, so this could improve access.

"Mr Jones has promised to continue to badger the Foreign Office and Ugandan authorities, and we are very grateful for his interest."

Mr Jones, who was in Uganda as part of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation, said: "The disappearance of Douglas Kear is not a closed case."

Mr Jones had made a promise to Mr Kears's brothers that he would take up the case in Uganda and had talks with Prime Minister Professor Apolo Nsibambi and President Museveni in Kampala as well as the chief of military intelligence.

However he said he feared Mr Kear and his companions had been murdered shortly after their capture.