British hostage released in Somalia

Judith Tebbutt was captured in Kenya over six months ago by gunmen who killed her husband.

    Tebbutt and her husband had been attacked on September 11 near Kiwayu Safari village [AFP]

    A British hostage, captured in Kenya over six months ago by gunmen who killed her husband, was released in central Somalia and flown out to Nairobi.

    "The British lady [Judith Tebbutt], who was kidnapped from Kenya was just released," said Mahmoud Hirsi, a village elder in the Addado region.

    "She is a free woman, but I cannot discuss the technical details of her release," he added.

    Abdiwali Ahmed, a resident of Addado, said Tebbutt had left Somalia on a small airplane bound for the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

    "The plane had the hostage and three other people on board," he said.

    Tebbutt,  56, was seized on September 11 last year from a remote beach resort near the Kenyan-Somali border by armed men who shot dead her husband David. She is reported to have hearing difficulties.

    She was released in the Addado region, about 50km from the Ethiopian border and about 500km northeast of Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

    The couple was attacked in their room at night. They were the only guests at the upmarket Kiwayu Safari Village, some 40km from the Somali border.

    Spate of kidnappings

    A French woman, Marie Dedieu, kidnapped from the same coastal area three weeks later, died in captivity.

    In October, gunmen captured two Spanish aid workers from Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, who are believed to be still held in Somalia.

    The spate of attacks prompted Kenya to send in troops and tanks into southern Somalia in October to attack the al-Qaeda allied al-Shabab armed group who Nairobi blamed for the attacks.

    Al-Shabab, who control large parts of southern and central Somalia, have always denied involvement in the kidnappings, but do admit to abducting Kenyan officials they call prisoners of war.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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