Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Kenya troops hunt British hostage

The Kenyan military has joined the hunt for a British woman kidnapped after her husband was shot dead as they holidayed at an exclusive beach resort.

David Tebbutt, 58, and his wife Judith, 56, were on holiday at the remote Kiwayu Safari Village, close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, when the attack happened during the early hours of Sunday morning.

There are suspicions that the gang was from Somalia and used a speedboat to get away from the isolated island resort, which has played host to artist Tracey Emin, actress Imelda Staunton and reportedly Sir Mick Jagger.

The Foreign Office has confirmed that two British nationals were attacked at a beach resort north of Lamu, near the Kenya-Somalia border.

A spokesman said: "One was killed and another kidnapped. We are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to establish further details. We have deployed a consular team from our High Commission in Nairobi and are offering all possible support to the family of those involved. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We are working to secure the safe and swift release of the British national who has been kidnapped and ask those involved to show compassion and release the individual immediately."

The Foreign Office urges against "all but essential travel to within 30km of Kenya's border with Somalia". Its website says: "There have been previous attacks by Somali militia into Kenya. Three aid workers were kidnapped in July 2009, and two western nuns in November 2008."

It also warns against piracy, referring to the kidnapping of two British nationals in October 2009 as they sailed from the Seychelles to Tanzania in notoriously dangerous waters. Retired couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, spent 388 days in captivity until they were released last November after a ransom was paid.

As the search continued for Mrs Tebbutt, the Kenyan military was said to have joined the hunt. Eric Kiraithe said Kenyan authorities were leaving no stone unturned and police and military were combing the area.

Officials have said the Tebbutts were attacked on the first night of their stay at the resort, with reports suggesting that bandits broke into their accommodation. Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said on Sunday that the couple had come from visiting the Masai Mara reserve and were the resort's only guests.


From Belfast Telegraph