Kidnapped Frenchwoman dead in Somalia: France

A gang of 10 armed men seized Dedieu (66) from Manda Island in Kenya earlier this month and fled by sea to Somalia.

Paris: A handicapped Frenchwoman who was
kidnapped from her beach-front home at a Kenyan resort island
and taken to neighbouring Somalia has died, France said Wednesday.

"The contacts through which the French government was
seeking to obtain the release of Marie Dedieu, held in Somalia
since October 1, have announced her death, but we have not
been able to determine the date nor the circumstances," the
foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Mrs Dedieu`s state of health, uncertainty over the
conditions of her detention and the fact that the kidnappers
probably refused to give her the medication that we sent her
lead us to believe that this tragic outcome is unfortunately
the most likely," the ministry said.

A gang of 10 armed men seized Dedieu (66) from Manda
Island in Kenya`s Lamu archipelago earlier this month and fled
by sea to Somalia, fighting off an attempt by Kenya`s navy to
stop them.

There had been serious concern over the health of Dedieu,
who was wheelchair-bound after an accident several years ago
and required medication every few hours.

The ministry said it had informed Dedieu`s family of her
death and was demanding the unconditional return of her
"The French government expresses its profound shock, great
sadness and solidarity with the family and loved ones of Marie
Dedieu," it said.

"It also expresses its indignation at the cruelty and
complete absence of humanity shown by our compatriot`s
abductors, whom we want to see identified and brought to

Kenyan officials said they suspected Somali Islamist
Shebab insurgents had carried out the abduction, but sources
in Somalia dismissed the theory.

Dedieu had lived for 15 years in the Lamu archipelago, off
Kenya`s northern coast.

Her kidnap was the second in the area in less than a month
and dealt a further blow to Kenya`s tourist trade after France
and Britain warned travellers to avoid the Kenyan coastline
near Somalia.

A British tourist, Judith Tebbutt, was seized to the north
of Lamu and taken to Somalia on September 11 by an armed gang
who killed her husband. She is believed to have been sold to
pirates now holding her in central Somalia.


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