An estimate 100 protesters took to the streets of Lamu, a sleepy island resort town on the East African country's northern coast, and urged for greater cooperation with British and French security forces to prevent a repeat of the kidnappings, which came at the peak of the June-October tourism season. Last week, fighting also erupted on the Somali-Kenyan border, raising pressure on Kenya's authorities to beef up their defenses against cross-border and sea-based attacks which threaten to devastate a tourism industry that brought in US$737 million in 2010.
A former al-Shabaab fighter who is now a pirate told Reuters: "The disabled Frenchwoman is here and she is very fine...we are looking for ransom money." He also was quoted as saying, "We have not agreed [as to] how much yet."
Sadly, it is very doubtful that Dedieu is "fine," as she is not only disabled and a diabetic, but additionally is battling cancer and requires a daily regimen of prescribed medication.
Judith Tebbutt, 56, whose husband, David, 58, was shot and killed by pirates last month, was also kidnapped and taken to Somalia. Hence, the challenge is not just gaining freedom for Dedieu, but for Tebbutt as well.
Foreigners who decide to live in developing countries, particularly in isolated and high-risk areas, should always be mindful of the the quality of local security services and hospital services. As I've said in the past, choosing "wisely" is very important.