British diplomat shot in Kenya

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The Independent Online
A British diplomat in Kenya was shot and wounded during a high- speed car chase as he tried to escape a gang of car thieves.

A spokeswoman for the British High Commission in Kenya confirmed that Graeme Gibson, 43, who is Second Secretary (Commercial), had been seriously wounded in a shooting incident.

According to reports, Mr Gibson was attacked on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi, as he drove home in his Land-Rover Discovery at about 8.30pm on Friday night.

A gang in a stolen Peugeot car tried to run him off the road but after a long high-speed chase they shot him several times, the Sunday Nation newspaper said.

Mr Gibson was wounded in the neck and lost control of his car which crashed into a gate. He was taken to Nairobi Hospital's intensive care unit. The gang made their getaway after hijacking another car, police said.

Mr Gibson has worked in Nairobi in the Commission's commercial department since November, promoting trading links with Britain.

He joined the Foreign Office in 1971 and has also served in several other African and European countries. He became a second secretary, a middle- ranking diplomatic position, in 1990.

The shooting was the second assault on a diplomat in Kenya's capital this month. India's ambassador and his wife were hospitalised with serious injuries early this month after they were attacked at their home in the exclusive Muthaiga suburb, where most diplomats and wealthy businessmen live.

Kenya's Foreign Minister, Kalonzo Musyoka, said last week that the government planned to provide police protection to the homes of diplomats, but gave no details.

Simon Hemans, British High Commissioner, said Mr Gibson, who was driving home from a commercial reception, took a circuitous route to see whether he was really being followed.

"They suddenly overtook him, pulled in front of him, one man leapt out and fired straight at him. Then the car sped off, and he was left wounded in his car," he told Independent Radio News. Discovery cars were a popular target of armed hijackers at the moment, he said.