11 Sep 2011

Briton killed and wife kidnapped on dream holiday in Kenya

A British man is shot dead and his wife kidnapped after bandits storm a luxury beach resort near the border with Somalia.

Channel 4 News understands that the incident took place in Lamu, a popular tourist destination on the Kenyan coast.

A British tourist has been murdered and his wife abducted after bandits stormed a luxury beach resort in Kenya, local police have said.

The man was shot dead as he bravely resisted the kidnappers, according to officers in the east African country.

Police say they have launched a search and rescue mission to try to save the British woman.

The incident happened overnight about 30 miles north of the island resort of Lamu, close to the border with Somalia.

According to reports, the attackers broke into the couple’s accommodation at the Kiwayu Safari Village resort, which consists of 18 luxury cottages spread along a private beach.

It is understood the killers were Somalis who carried out a cross-border raid before escaping from the scene in a boat.

A Kenyan security official said a policeman arrived to see six men carrying away the woman. He decided not to shoot in case he hit the tourist.

There was speculation the kidnappers could be from the al Qaeda-linked insurgent group al-Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia.

The identities of the husband and wife have not yet been confirmed.

Kenyan Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere told a press conference in the capital Nairobi that the man was gunned down and his wife abducted by bandit who broke into the resort at around midnight on Saturday, shortly after the couple had arrived from a flight from the Masai Mara.

He said: “The couple checked in yesterday but the attack occurred at about midnight. The man was killed when he resisted and that is when he was shot dead. His wife was kidnapped and we are carrying out a search and rescue mission.

“There is no group that has claimed responsibility and we do not know the motive yet. We do not want to speculate because we don’t have that information.

“The couple were the only visitors at the resort at the time of the attack.

“We are advising tourists in the country to be extra careful particularly those visiting areas around Lamu where the incident occurred.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that two British nationals were attacked overnight at a beach resort north of Lamu, near the Kenya-Somalia border. One was killed and another kidnapped. We are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to establish further details.

“We have deployed a consular team from our High Commission in Nairobi and are offering all possible support to the family of those involved. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“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.”

Advice posted on the Foreign Office website advised travellers against going within 30km of the Kenya-Somalia border.

It said: “There have been previous attacks by Somali militia into Kenya.

“Three aid workers were kidnapped in July 2009, and two Western nuns in November 2008.”

The incident is thought to be the first time that Somali gunmen have target tourist resorts in neighbouring Kenya.

In 2008, British missionary Brian Thorp, 77, was murdered during a robbery on the island of Lamu.

Originally from Derbyshire, he had worked across Africa as a missionary and may have been targeted as he had cash on him due to be paid to labourers renovating a church.