20 Oct 2011

Kidnapped woman now dead

5:45 am on 20 October 2011

A French woman kidnapped from Kenya by an armed gang from Somalia on 1 October has died.

French diplomats say they were told of Marie Dedieu's death by contacts through whom they had been negotiating her release.

The exact date and circumstances of her death are not known, but her poor health and the fact that her medication had been withheld, had led to fears this would be the outcome.

Mrs Dedieu, 66, was one of four Westerners recently taken from Kenya.

She was a wheelchair-user and had to take regular medication for cancer and heart problems.

In September, Briton David Tebbutt was killed and his wife Judith abducted from a luxury resort of Kiwayu on the Kenyan coast.

Earlier this month, two female Spanish aid workers with the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres were seized from the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border. All three are still missing.

The BBC reports the Kenyan government blames the al-Shabab Islamist group which controls most of southern and central Somalia. It sent troops into Somalia on Sunday.