Kidnapped Briton possibly in Somalia – police

September 13, 2011 8:26 am

, The Kiwayu Safari Village, Lamu KenyaNAIROBI, Kenya Sept 13 – Police are now convinced the British woman abducted from an exclusive beach resort in the Lamu archipelago on Saturday night is already in Somalia.

Judith Tebbutt was kidnapped when unknown assailants, suspected to be Al Shabaab militants, raided the exclusive resort during which her husband David was shot dead.

By Tuesday morning, police said they had not been able to trace the woman and hinted they were talking to authorities and elders in Somalia to help coordinate the search in their territory.

A senior police officer speaking on condition of anonymity said; “We are speaking with the Somalia government. We are jointly coordinating with authorities there to assist us establish her whereabouts if she is anywhere there.”

The officer added:  “We strongly believe she was abducted by foreign forces and she is unlikely to be here in Kenya, we could have found her long time ago.  Elders in Somalia will be involved to talk to the suspected abductors so that they can confirm if they are holding her.”

Coast Provincial Police Chief Aggrey Adoli when reached on telephone on Tuesday morning said:  “The situation remains as it was yesterday.  We are still going on with the search and we do not know yet where she is.”

“We have put out appeals to the public but nothing has been forthcoming.  Our teams are still out there… we are gathering all the intelligence but we have not found her,” he said.

Adoli declined to confirm if indeed they had conclusively established or confirmed that she was in Somalia.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire appealed to the militants who kidnapped the woman to release her unharmed.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Macaire repeated an earlier advisory to British nationals against travelling to within 30km of the Somali border following Saturday night’s incident at the exclusive Kiwayu Safari Village Resort.

“It’s a very distressing situation and we are doing anything we can. We would like to appeal to the kidnappers to release unharmed and safely, someone who is an innocent tourist in Kenya,” Macaire said.

“The UK issues travel advice on every country in the world and we try to describe what the dangers are and we have in the case of Kenya for quite a long time advised people against going within 30km of the Somali border.

Macaire revealed a consular team had been sent to the site and were working with Kenyan authorities to get to the bottom of the kidnapping.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala later issued a statement saying: “The Government of Kenya expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the bereaved and their loved ones. We strongly condemn this senseless act of violence on innocent visitors to our country. ”

He assured that the government considered the security of tourists to be of paramount importance and that very serious attention was being given to the matter to ensure the safety of all travellers.

“We further wish to reassure tourists in the coastal border towns and indeed all over the country, that the Government has proper machinery in place to ensure high level security for our tourists. Domestic and international tourists should enjoy the country’s attractions without the fear of insecurity.”

Kiwayu Safari Village has in the meantime released a statement expressing its devastation at last weekend’s tragic events.

“We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Tebbutt family and their many friends. Our thoughts are with them as we pray for Judith’s safe return,” the statement said.

“We are offering every assistance we can to help with the investigation and wish to express our sincere thanks to the Kenyan Security Services and the British authorities for all that they are doing.”


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