As a follow-up to my earlier posting on this subject this morning, Kenyan Coast Guardsmen appear to be bogged down in an at-sea standoff with Somalian gunmen holding a disabled Frenchwoman, Marie Dedieu, 66. The victim’s Kenyan boyfriend, John Lepapa, 39, said six masked gunmen armed with assault rifles stormed their private beach house on Manda Island before sunrise earlier today. In what seems to be the second abduction of a foreign visitor in three weeks, the gunmen ordered Dedieu, Lepapa and their hired help to lie face to the floor, before one of the gunmen grabbed the wheelchair-bound woman and carried her to an awaiting boat. Lepapa confirmed that the gunmen specifically wanted the Frenchwoman as a captive.
COMMENT: According to Kenyan police, some of the pirates were firing warning shops at the the Kenyan Coast Guard in an effort to deter them. Lepapa also indicated that Dedieu has been battling cancer and did not have with her badly needed prescribed medication.
The French Foreign Ministry said they had eight of their countrymen held captive abroad, among them three aid workers in Yemen, four citizens in the Sahel region and one other in Somalia. In early September, gunmen attacked a British couple at a camp resort near Lamu. Unfortunately, when the husband resisted, he was shot and killed. The wife was then kidnapped and taken to Somalia.