, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire has appealed to suspected Somali militants who kidnapped British tourist Judith Tebbutt to release her unharmed.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Mr 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,” Mr Macaire said.
During the incident, Judith’s husband David was killed by the armed gunmen suspected to belong to the al-Shabaab extremist group based in Somalia.
“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.
“We have reiterated that in the light of this incident,” the envoy added.
Mr 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.
He declined to reveal further developments due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigations.
Speaking separately, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka told His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex of the huge problem Kenya was grappling with at the porous Somali border.
“I’m sure the British High Commissioner has briefed you on the situation with the Somali border. It is a humanitarian crisis and we are doing everything to contain it,” Mr Musyoka told the Earl of Wessex who was on a visit to Kenya.
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.”