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Britain And France Warn Against Travel To Somalia And Kenyan Border

Britain and France warn against travel to Somalia and the Kenyan border area after one murder and two kidnappings,  within one month of each other.

Britain and France warn against travel to Somalia and the Kenyan border area after one murder and two kidnappings, within one month of each other.

The kidnapping of a disabled Frenchwoman by Somali gunmen has resulted in Britain and France issuing travel warnings against travel to or in Somalia, and even travel within 150 km of the borders of Somalia. Great care should be taken at all times in the border areas between Somalia and Kenya.

On Sunday, local officials confirmed that a French woman, Marie Didieu, is already in Somalia, having been kidnapped on Saturday by Somali gunmen from her home which is in Ras Gitau in Manda, east Kenya on the archipelago of Lamu. There is great concern because this is the second kidnapping in a month in this area of Kenya.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, FCO, had already warned travelers to stay away from the Somali borders after David Tebbutt a 58 year old publisher from Britain was shot and killed on 11 September, and his wife Judith taken as a hostage. They were on vacation at the time, at a resort which is about 25 miles from the border between Kenya and Somalia. Mrs. Tebbutt has not yet been released either.

The British FCO say on their web site about Somalia “We advise against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland. In the Southern and Central regions, there is ongoing serious violence, dangerous levels of criminal activity and general internal insecurity. We advise any British citizens in Somalia to leave.”

For Kenya, the FCO say “We advise against all but essential travel to coastal areas within 150km of the Somali border, following two attacks by armed gangs in small boats against beach resorts in the Lamu area on 11 September and 1 October 2011. This advice will be kept under review. Both attacks were on beach-front properties, with two Westerners kidnapped and one murdered. Beach-front accommodation in that area and boats off the coast are vulnerable.”

Authorities are concerned that the number of such kidnappings will rise as other gunmen try the same tactics. Somali Islamist militants from the group al-Shabab, or al-Shabaab, have been blamed for the kidnappings, as they fight to overthrow the government of Somalia in any way they can..

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