October 1, 2011 by staff
A group of nine armed men attacked the property near Lamu, in the middle of the night after arriving by speedboat. The staff and neighbors reported shots being fired and that the armed men broke into the house shouting “Take us to the mother.”
It is the second violent kidnapping of a foreigner in three weeks.
In a similar attack on September 11, gunman attacked a British couple on holiday 50 years north of Lamu.
Publishing executive David Tebbutt, of Bishop, was killed and his wife Judith is a hostage, perhaps in Somalia.
The Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the army, police and Coast Guard had located the ship where the French woman was out and had surrounded.
“Two Coast Guard ships have surrounded the boat where there are armed men and a woman,” Balala told Reuters.
The local police chief, Adoli Aggrey, added: “We have deployed a contingent of the region, the army is already there and a police helicopter in the air.”.
Bernard Valero, foreign affairs spokesman in Paris said the Foreign Ministry was in “constant contact” with the Kenyan authorities.
“Our ambassador and his team will do their utmost to free our citizens know that our beloved embassy and local level,” said Valero.
Kenyan police said they were unable to establish whether the hijackers were Somali pirates, an Islamic group shebab of a local gang, but added the “suspect” ship that had surrounded her way to Somalia.
The woman, who has not been identified, he retired and lived in Kenya for 15 years, returning only occasionally to France to visit her family.
She was well known in the area where he spent half years at her home in Manda Island off the coast of the village of Shela, Lamu archipelago in the near the border with Somalia, where many wealthy foreigners have second homes. The locals said it was older and uses a wheelchair.
Kiptoon Jeremiah, who works in command, said he was awakened by gunfire and screams. “It was just before three o’clock. We were all asleep and woke with a jump, because shots were fired. The dogs were barking and screaming,” he said.
“I ran to the place where everything was happening, but when I reached the woman was gone. His house is near the beach. Everybody stood there surprised. The staff told us that nine men arrived in a speedboat and had broken into the house with guns shouting “. Take us Mom ‘”
Somali pirates have often seized the crew of merchant ships in waters off the Horn of Africa, but in recent years have focused on private yachts, snatching the West and demanding, often successfully, rescues enormous.
David Tebbutt, 58, editorial director of Faber & Faber and his wife Judith, 57, were staying at the Villa Kiwayu Safari, a luxury resort of 18 cottages along a kilometer of beach protected less than 30 kilometers from the border between Kenya and Somalia, when they were attacked. It was unclear whether the killing and kidnapping was carried out by Islamic militants or pirates.
A British man kidnapped in southern Somalia in 2008, the environmental researcher Murray Watson, is still missing and a French secret service agent has also taken place in Somalia for more than two years.
The British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were uprooted from their yacht in 2010 and detained for 13 months. They were released after a ransom was paid.
The Lamu archipelago often included in package holidays to Kenya, with game viewing safaris in some national parks in the country.
Tourism is a key source of foreign exchange for Kenya, the largest economy in East Africa. The industry had just recovered from the violence that erupted after the disputed 2007 elections frightened tourists.
Somalia, located in the easternmost part of Africa, has been without a central government control throughout the country, falling into civil war in 1991.
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