After my series of postings that begin in mid-September 2011 on the kidnapping of British tourist Judith Tebbutt, 56, who was kidnapped by Somalian pirates at a luxury resort village just inside Kenya, Mrs. Tebbutt was freed yesterday (March 21) after the payment of a US$1.3 million ransom.
Held in captivity for six months, Tebbutt was unaware for weeks after being abducted that her husband, David, 58, had been killed by the pirates, after her husband came to her aid when gunmen converged on their hut.
COMMENT: British officials declined to go into details about the circumstances of Tebbutt's release or comment on any ransom demand. Yet, it is presumed that the Tebbutt Family made arrangements for the payment of the ransom. Mrs. Tebbutt's son, Oliver, is attributed to working out the details on the payment of the ransom.
Although foreign governments whose policies against the payment of ransom are not often not happy to see private parties pay ransom, they at the same are spared the emotional turmoil when a family member is abducted.
Gunmen entered the Tebbutts' cottage at the Kiwayu Safari Village resort on the evening of September 10, 2011; they were the only foreigners staying at the 18-cottage resort at the time. Subsequently, Mrs. Tebbutt was abducted from the village by boat.
A month later, gunmen kidnapped a disabled French woman who lived part-time in Lamu. She died in captivity.
In January 2012, US Navy SEALs dropped into Somalia and rescued a 32-year-old American and a 60-year-old Dane kidnapped in October 2011. Nine kidnappers were also killed in the rescue operation.
Criminals in Somalia still hold an American taken in January. Other hostages held in Somalia include two Spanish aid workers seized in Kenya, a French military adviser and hundreds of sailors of various nationalities hijacked by pirates at sea.
Considering that the risk of kidnapping is still highly probable near the Somalian-Kenyan border, I strongly recommend that tourists not travel within 60 miles (96 kilometers) of Somalia.