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Second Kenyan charged over tourist kidnap, murder

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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A second man has been charged in a Kenyan court after the murder of a British tourist and the abduction of his wife at a remote beach resort near the border with Somalia, a local magistrate said.

Unidentified gunmen raided the Kiwayu Safari Village resort in the early hours of September 11, shooting dead publishing executive David Tebbutt, 58, and taking hostage his wife Judith, 56, before escaping by boat.

Kenyan Issa Sheikh Said was charged with robbery with violence and kidnapping with intention to murder at a magistrate's court in the coastal town of Lamu.

Robbery with violence is a capital offence in Kenya.

"He denied the charges and his case will be heard on October 25," Lamu's Senior Resident Magistrate Rwito Kithinji said.

The magistrate said it was possible his case would be heard alongside that of another Kenyan arrested last week and charged on Monday in connection with the killing and kidnapping. Ali Babitu Kololo also pleaded not guilty.

Mr Kololo, a former worker at the resort, said he was not a willing member of the group that kidnapped Mrs Tebbutt and was forced at gunpoint to bring the kidnappers to the location, the BBC reported.

Kidnap victim held in Somalia

Somali pirates in the lawless Horn of Africa nation have said she is being held in the country.

Local elders in Amara village near the Islamist-controlled northern Harardhere town in Somalia said Mrs Tebbutt's kidnappers brought her to the village by sea and transferred her onto land.

"We are getting information indicating that a female Western hostage was brought close to Amara village. The kidnappers took her on land after bringing her by boat," said Mohamed Isa, an elder, on Sunday.

Another elder, Abdikarin Dahir, also said villagers had spotted Mrs Tebbutt.

"I think the kidnappers are pirates because they brought the British hostage near Harardhere where residents have spotted her today," Dahir said.

Pirate leader Abdi Yare also said Mrs Tebbutt had likely been brought near Harardhere.

"I'm not sure if those holding the hostage are pirates but there are strong reports indicating that the woman is now on the ground near Harardhere," Yare told Agence France-Presse.

Kenyan security forces launched a huge manhunt after the attack on Mrs Tebbutt and her husband, but found no trace of the abducted woman.

Kidnapping has chiefly been carried out by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean but Somali gunmen have also attacked Westerners just across the border with Kenya.

Reuters/AFP with Glenda Kwek


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