Kenyan police search for abducted UK tourist

Boats and helicopters involved in search for woman whose husband was killed at beach resort off the northern coast.

    The chief of the Kenyan police said the tourists were attacked in their room shortly after midnight [Reuters]

    Kenyan police are searching for a British woman whose husband was killed while on holiday at a luxury beach resort on the Lamu archipelago off Kenya's northern coast.

    "We are using all the tactics and resources available but we have not made any success so far - we hope to find her safe," Aggrey Adoli, the regional police commander leading the search, said on Monday.

    Police suspect the assailants were Somali fighters from al-Shabab group.

    Kenyan police named the couple as David and Judith Tebbutt, believed to be in their mid 50s, and from the town of Bishop's Stortford in southeast England.

    Mathew Iteere, the head of the Kenyan police, said the couple, who had arrived at the resort during the day on Saturday, were attacked in their room in  shortly after midnight.

    They were the resort's only guests at the time.

    "There was only one shot, I think the husband resisted from what we gather - maybe they wanted to take the two, but he resisted," Iteere told reporters late on Sunday.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected family," the hotel where the attack took place, the Kiwayu Safari Village, said in a statement posted on its website on Monday following the "tragic events".

    Search boats

    Armed security officers patrolled the lodge on Monday, with guards posted on the white-sand beach, fringed by palm trees.

    A massive manhunt for the woman's abductors has been beefed up by police search boats and helicopters, according to an AFP reporter travelling on a boat through the area.

    "Our forces have been out since Sunday doing everything possible to rescue her," Adoli said by telephone from Kiunga, where the attack took place, some 40km from Kenya's border with Somalia.

    "We have also appealed to members of the public in this area to work closely with us," he added.

    Extra police officers and soldiers have been called in to boost search efforts, Adoli said.

    The Lamu island chain and the surrounding area is one of Kenya's top luxury holiday destinations and favoured by celebrities, despite being close to the border with war-torn and drought-struck Somalia.

    Most of southern Somalia is controlled by al-Shabab, which is waging an insurgency against Somalia's fragile, Western-backed government.

    Al-Shabab officials in southern Somalia declined to comment on the kidnap.

    Britain's foreign office said officials were investigating the case alongside their Kenyan counterparts.

    "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," it said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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