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Statement by the Minister for Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, MP, on the Kidnapping of a French National in Manda Island

Kenya Minister's response to tourist kidnapping

Oct 02, 2011

October 1, 2011: The government of Kenya wishes to confirm that an elderly lady of French origin, Ms. Marie DeDieu, was abducted from a private residence in Manda Island, at 3:30 am this morning.

Two gunmen stormed the residence and took the hostage to a waiting speedboat before fleeing into international waters. It is believed that the perpetrators are gunmen operating from Somalia.

Kenyan security forces immediately embarked on efforts to locate and rescue the hostage, with the Kenyan Navy pursuing the speedboat with assistance from aerial surveillance. As of now, the rescue effort is still ongoing.

The government of Kenya deeply regrets this incident, given that security and safety of tourists and visitors to Kenya is of paramount importance. It has noted that this incident took place in a private residential area, whilst security in tourist facilities has already been increased.

We wish to reassure visitors to our Northeastern coast, and indeed to all other tourism areas in the country, that the government is closely monitoring the situation with a view to ensuring high-level security for everyone. Tourism being an important sector to Kenya’s economy, the government will spare no efforts in ensuring tourists enjoy their holidays and stay in the country without any apprehension.

In addition, the government of Kenya, acknowledging that this is a world-wide problem, is urgently joining with allies in the United Nations to reinforce and enhance action already being taken in the Indian Ocean area to combat such incidents.

More details will be given as soon as they become available.

Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, MP

October 2, 2011 UPDATE: The government of Kenya is working closely with British, French, and international authorities to ensure that acts of piracy, such as that committed yesterday on Manda Island by Somali nationals are stopped and that hostages are released.

It has been widely acknowledged today that the containment of the long-term problems of Somalia within that country’s borders has become a major international problem. Kenya, working closely with its allies and the United Nations, is doing everything within its power to ensure that the effects of the blight and unrest, which have affected Somalia for so long, does not further encroach across Kenyan borders either by land or sea.

We wish to point out to all our international visitors and our friends in the travel trade that the recent despicable acts of Somali pirates have only affected a small part of our territory. A glance at the map will show that these events have occurred hundreds of kilometers away from the coastal and inland destinations, which are so popular with the majority of our visitors. With the small exception of the northern coast, none of our visitor destinations are in any way affected by the changes in some country’s travel advisories, which were announced overnight.

Tourism, being an important sector within Kenya’s economy and a major employer, the government will spare no efforts to ensure that our visitors enjoy their holidays and stay in Kenya without any apprehension.

More details will be given as soon as they become available.

Kenya Minister's response to tourist kidnapping
Kenya Minister for Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala

Source: Kenya Government

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