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Travel News

Amisom forces pressure prompts release of UK hostage in Somalia

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(eTN) – Judith Tebbutt, abducted by Somali terrorists of the Al Shabab movement in September last year from a beach camp in Kenya, when her husband was in fact shot dead during the nighttime raid, has

(eTN) – Judith Tebbutt, abducted by Somali terrorists of the Al Shabab movement in September last year from a beach camp in Kenya, when her husband was in fact shot dead during the nighttime raid, has been freed and flown to Nairobi yesterday according to sources in Kenya.

Relentless military pressure by Kenyan armed forces, the AMISOM mission comprising Ugandan, Burundian, and Djibouti troops, and the recent cross-border forward defense by Ethiopia, has seemingly put the hostage takers under increased stress, compelling them to move repeatedly. Mrs. Tebbutt was freed deep inland, apparently only 30 kilometrers from the Ethiopian border and was flown to Nairobi for medical attention and debriefing before returning home to the UK and her family and friends later this week.

According to a report from the Times newspaper, Judith’s family paid a ransom of US$1.3 million plus US$32,000 to “accommodate” Judith for the past 6 months, which was dropped from a plane to the pirates. Only recently intermediates were arrested again by Somali authorities with millions of US dollars in their possession, ostensibly meant to have some ships and crews freed – the source of the millions, however, unknown. At most, the tormented woman is now free.

Not long after the incident in Kiwayu, a French woman was also taken hostage by the same group from her residence in Lamu but died soon afterwards as she needed permanent care, which the abductors were unable to provide. The two incidents eventually pushed Kenya into a full-scale invasion of Somalia by land, sea, and air to push back militants from the border areas and bring peace and stability back to a country which has been in turmoil since the early 1990s when Siad Barre’s dictatorship was overthrown. Kenya’s troops are now part of AMISOM, the UN and African Union peace-keeping force in Somalia. Welcome back to freedom and liberty, Judith.