News

Somali Pirates Free British Hostage Held Since September

British hostage Judith Tebbutt, is pictured at a house in Adado, central Somalia, before her departure, March 21, 2012.
British hostage Judith Tebbutt, is pictured at a house in Adado, central Somalia, before her departure, March 21, 2012.
Gabe Joselow

A British woman held hostage for six months inside Somalia has been freed after a ransom was paid to her captors.  The British Foreign Office said Wednesday she was being taken to a safe place.  

Somali gunmen seized Judith Tebbutt, 56, in September last year from a secluded seaside resort in Kenya near the Somali border.

Kenyan police say her husband, David, was shot dead during the attack when he tried to resist. Judith, who relies on hearing aids, was then taken away in a speedboat by her kidnappers and was believed to be held captive in central Somalia.

But her long ordeal finally ended on Wednesday.

Media reports say Somali pirates surrendered Tebbutt to local authorities after receiving a ransom payment.

A spokesman for Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, Omar Osman, said the prime minister had been putting pressure on local groups to release Tebbutt, but said the TFG could only do so much with its limited political capacity.

“We hope that the international will realize that helping Somali institutions to rebuild is the only way out of the morass we are in in Somalia, and if we were ever to control the whole country we would not have all these people taken hostage to our territory,” he said.

A disabled French woman was kidnapped soon after Tebbutt in a similar attack in a nearby resort by suspected Somali gunmen. She died while being held hostage in Somalia.

Somali kidnappers also are believed to still be holding two Spanish aid workers abducted in October from the Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Kenya.

The kidnappings were part of a spate of cross-border attacks last year that Kenya used as justification for a full-scaled military operation in Somalia targeting al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab has denied involvement in the kidnappings. Security analysts have said the abductions are more likely the work of pirates and other criminal gangs seeking money.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs