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Kenya Mediator Hopes to Get French Woman Released

An undated photo of Marie Dedieu
An undated photo of Marie Dedieu

Kenya has sent mediators to Somalia to try to secure the release of a French woman abducted from a Kenyan resort.

Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala tells VOA Swahili Service that Kenya has set up a "small team" that will try to win Marie Dedieu's freedom, either through a rescue operation or through negotiations with the kidnappers.

Dedieu, who is in her 60s and uses a wheelchair, was seized by Somali gunmen at her beach house on Kenya's Manda Island on Saturday. Kenyan security forces gave chase and traded fire with the kidnappers but the gunmen escaped by boat into Somali territory.

Kenyan officials are blaming the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Britain later updated a travel advisory, warning its citizens not to go near the coastal area where the French woman was kidnapped.

Saturday's kidnapping took place across a lagoon from Lamu island, a popular Kenyan resort near where pirates kidnapped a British woman earlier this month and shot her husband to death.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.