Gunmen have killed a British man and abducted his wife in a raid on a beach resort in northern Kenya near Somalia, Kenyan police and Britain's Foreign Office said.
"We believe it is a kidnap but we are yet to receive any communication from the alleged kidnappers, over 11 hours after they took her with them," Ndegwa Muhoro, the director of Kenya's Criminal Investigation Department, told Reuters news agency on Sunday.
"We are yet to receive any communication from the armed militia and where they may be holding the British woman," he said by phone from Rwanda, where he was on official duty.
He said anti-terrorism and special crimes teams were on the ground, but no arrests had yet been made.
Abu Chiaba, a member of parliament for Lamu East and assistant fisheries minister, told Reuters several armed men attacked the Kiwayu Safari Village north of Lamu in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve just before dawn on Sunday.
"The tourists were at the cottage at dawn when armed men stormed in and ordered them to surrender all [money] and other personal items in their possession," said Chiaba.
He said the gunmen shot the man, grabbed the woman and left the resort in a speed boat.
The British Foreign Office confirmed the nationalities of the two victims. It said it was working to secure the
immediate safe release of the woman.
The resort has 18 cottages, spread along a kilometre of pristine white beaches within a marine reserve that has a chain of islands, coral reefs and is home to sea turtles.
Chiaba said there was a need for beefed-up security patrols along the border with Somalia because it was an area visited by tourists and provided a livelihood for local people.
Somali gunmen have attacked Westerners just across the border with Kenya on several occasions. Three aid workers were kidnapped in July 2009, and two nuns in November 2008.
The south of Somalia bordering Kenya is mainly controlled by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebels, who have been fighting the UN-backed government in the capital Mogadishu for more than four years.
Tourism is one of Kenya's main foreign exchange earners and Britain is the leading source market. In the first six months of 2011, Britons made up 14.3 per cent of record arrivals totalling 549,083.