Following a spate of recent kidnappings, the UK Foreign Office has advised against: “all but essential travel to coastal areas within 150km of the Somali border”. The change in advice comes after two kidnapping attacks taking place over a month.
The first attack came on the 11th September when Briton David Tebbutt was shot and his wife Judith was kidnapped.
Then on the 1st of October, 66-year-old French woman Marie Dedieu was kidnapped despite a boat chase and exchange of shots between the Kenyan Authorities and the pirates.
Another recent kidnapping which was well publicised in the British press, was the plight of Paul and Rachel Chandler who were captured in 2010 for 13 months until a ransom was paid.
Foreign Secretary William Hague told Sky News that: “we are seeing possibly copycat kidnappings taking place. That is very alarming.” The Foreign Office are working with the Kenyan authorities to improve security around the area.
The full Foreign Office travel advice now states: ”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.”
The Foreign Office is keeping the situation under regular review and will update their advice accordingly.