Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Kenyan beach kidnap victim dies

A Kenyan police officer keeps guard in a village in Kiunga, next to the border with Somalia (AP)

The French woman taken hostage in Kenya by Somali bandits has died.

France's Foreign Ministry said the details of Marie Dedieu's death were not immediately clear.

It added that the kidnappers "probably refused to give her the medication we sent her."

Kenya's government has blamed the attack on Somali militants from the al-Shabab group.

Ms Dedieu, who French officials said was in her 60s, was taken from her beachfront home on an island resort near the northern Kenyan town of Lamu on October 1.

Three weeks earlier British tourist David Tebbutt was shot dead and his wife Judith taken hostage from their hotel around 30 miles further north. Mrs Tebbutt is still missing.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: "Madame Dedieu was a gravely ill 66-year-old woman, afflicted with cancer (and) quadriplegic," he said. "Seizing a woman in this state is an act of barbarity and absolutely unspeakable violence."

French officials demanded that her remains be handed over.

"Oh my God, she was my friend," said Lamu resident Beatrice Halua, after being told of Ms Dedieu's death. "Sometimes I would cross (the water) to give her a massage - she had bad circulation in her legs - and she would give me advice on life."

"She knew how to live with everyone: good people, bad people. She was a nice person - she had so many friends," she added. "Please, they have to just send back her body now. We need to see her for the last time."