Somali pirates kidnap disabled French woman on Kenyan island


A French woman became the latest victim of Somali kidnappers after she was snatched from her home by an armed gang at a holiday resort in northern Kenya.

The woman, aged 66, is disabled. She was attacked at her bungalow at Ras Kitau, on the northern resort island of Manda.

As the gang made their escape to Somalia by sea they were chased for several hours by two Kenyan coastguard ships.

Kenyan officials said some of the kidnappers had been injured in an exchange of fire with the coastguards.

The Kenyan government blamed the incident on Al-Shabaab militants and believe the French woman is now being held in the Somalian town of Ras Kamboni.

The kidnap comes just three weeks after a British couple were attacked further north in Kenya. Gunmen shot dead David Tebbutt, 58, and kidnapped his wife, Judith, 56, in the exclusive resort of Kiwayu. Mrs Tebbutt was taken across the border to Somalia and is still being held captive.

A Kenyan government statement said: "At 03:30, an elderly, disabled French lady who has been living in Manda Island in her own house was abducted by 10 heavily armed Somali bandits suspected to be Al-Shabaab operatives from Ras Kamboni in Somalia, near the Kenyan border."

Witnesses say they heard at least two gunshots before the woman was taken away by the attackers. "Armed people came into Manda by boat in the middle of the night. The elderly French woman is well known in the area, she comes to Manda regularly," Abu Chiaba, a local politician said.

Ambrose Munyasia, a police official, said he understood that the French government would be joining the hunt for the missing woman and was optimistic she would be rescued.

In a message to Kenyans, the government said that "adequate security measures" had been put in place.

France yesterday warned people to stay away from the area and the British Foreign Office extended an existing alert. It said: "We advise against all but essential travel to coastal areas within 150 kilometres from the Somali border." The Foreign Office warned that accommodation around beaches in Lamu and sail boats in the area were "vulnerable".

Pirates once focused on ships at sea, but in recent years have also attacked private yachts, capturing Europeans or Americans.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before