British woman freed from Somali captors

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NAIROBI. March 22. KAZINFORM British hostage Judith Tebbutt who was abducted by Somali gunmen in Kenya in September last year has been released, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

The 56-year-old Tebbut, who was seized in a raid in Kenya's coastal beach resorts near the Kenya-Somalia border where her husband, David Tebbutt was shot dead, arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon.

"We can confirm that Judith Tebbut who was abducted in Kenya in September 2011 has been released. Our priority now is to get her to a place of safety," British FCO spokesman told Xinhua by telephone.

David Tebbutt was killed in the attack when he resisted the militia men while Judith was kidnapped and driven to central Somalia by the terror gang.

Judith who has been being held by pirates in central Somalia after the attack on their holiday beach hut in Kiwayu in Kenya was freed after a ransom, raised by her relatives, was paid to secure her release.

She was kidnapped and driven by suspected Al-Shabaab via a speedboat from the island to Kismayu in Somalia, which is a pirate base.

The island of Lamu which prides itself on protecting its guests, just south of Kiwayu, is a popular vacation spot, though the area north of it is considered dangerous, and the foreign nations have warned their nationals to stay away.

Sources told Xinhua that kidnappers have been holding Judith, from Bishop's Stortford, in a secret location in the pirate hotbed while talks between local elders and the hostage takers were underway to secure her release.

A number of foreigners are still being held hostage in Somalia by unknown militia groups allegedly allied with insurgent forces that used to control much of southern and central Somalia.

Western nations believe there is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya with warning that attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Previous attacks have included a bomb attack on a hotel, which resulted in significant loss of life, and an unsuccessful attempt to bring down a civilian airliner in Mombasa, both in November 2002.

The Kenyan police have encouraged extra vigilance against possible terrorist attacks on public places as a result of current heightened conflict in Somalia.

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