British Woman Freed in Somalia

Posted March 21st, 2012 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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Somali kidnappers have freed a British woman abducted from a Kenyan beach resort more than six months ago.

Witnesses say Judith Tebbutt was released in Somalia's Addado region Wednesday and put on a plane to Nairobi. British and Somali officials confirmed her release.

British media reports say Tebbutt's family paid a ransom to secure her freedom.

Gunmen kidnapped Tebbutt and killed her husband David last September, just hours after they checked into a luxury resort, the Kiwayu Safari Village, about 40 kilometers south of the Kenya-Somalia border. They were the resort's only guests at the time.

Kenyan authorities charged at least two suspects in the murder-kidnapping.

Issa Sheikh Said was charged with robbery with violence and kidnapping, allegations he has denied. Former resort worker Ali Babitu Kololo faces similar charges. He says an armed gang forced him to lead them to the couple's cottage.

The Kenyan government blamed Somali militant group al-Shabab for several kidnappings in Kenya and sent troops into southern Somalia to fight the militant group. Al-Shabab has denied involvement in the kidnappings.

The Tebbutts were visiting from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire in southeast England.

David Tebbutt was the finance director of the British publishing company Faber & Faber.