Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kenya: Update--Kenyan, 27, Sentenced to Death for Role in Abduction, Murder of British Couple

According to the BBC, a Kenyan criminal court has sentenced unemployed hotel resort worker, Ali Babitu Kololo, 27, to death after convicting him of being involved in a gang which murdered British businessman David Tebbutt, 58, finance director for a publishing house based in Bloomsbury. David was shot and killed in September 2011.

David Tebbutt is believed to have been shot and killed while attempting to resist the kidnapping of himself and his wife, Judith, 57, the latter of whom was later taken hostage and spirited off to Somalia where she was held for ransom.

Somalian pirates suspected of carrying out the raid in which an armed gang of five gunmen stormed their villa at the Kiwayu Safari Village at approximately 0400 hours, located just 18 miles from Somalia.

Unfortunately, David Tebbutt endeavored to protect his wife, Judith, resulting in David's death from a bullet shot by one of the kidnappers. 

Subsequently, Judith Tebbutt was bundled up and taken to Somalia.

Sadly, the couple had been at the Kiwaya only a few hours and strangely were the only guests.

COMMENT: The Kiwayu resort is made up of 18 luxury villas spread along a private beach. Holidaymakers pay from £280 (US$430) a night. 

Having seen photographs of Kiwayu, I was alarmed immediately  that such a pricey resort had virtually no security deterrents of any sort--no physical barriers, no grill-work, alarms or even nominally armed guards--particularly considering that it was a stone's throw from Somalia. 

Given the high nightly cost for a bungalow and the fact that neither Kenya or Somalia are low-risk destinations, I am actually stunned that celebrities visited the Safari Village, in light of the sparse security for VIPs.

The resort is managed by a British-Kenyan, George Moorhead, and his Italian wife, Simone Pelizzoli. Its website reassures visitors that it takes security "very seriously," yet how could that be given how wide-open the entire property is, particularly against well-armed and motivated kidnappers. 

Mrs. Tebbutt was reportedly held for roughly six months in Somalia with the end result that her family paid a ransom of £800,000 (US$1.3 million) for her release. 

As regards Kololo, I find it very strange that that he would be sentenced to death for his complicity in the death of David Tebbutt and yet be sentenced to a mere seven years in prison for Mrs. Tebbutt's abduction. 

Very, very confusing. So which is it, a death sentence, which may or may not be carried out, or seven years for the loss of freedom for six months in addition to the loss of £800,000?

It has also been learned that it has been 26 years since anyone in Kenya was executed with the norm being that most death sentences are commuted to life imprisonment. Again, which is it?

Sadly, Judith Tebbutt was told of her husband murder two weeks after she was kidnapped. 

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Judith Tebbutt said she felt very uncomfortable after arriving at the beach resort for a two-week stay as she and her publisher husband were the only guests. Unfortunately, though, the couple remained at the resort until gunmen broke into their bungalow early the next morning, changing their lives forever.