Monday, September 19, 2011

Tebbutt attack: Kenyan man charged with kidnap

Mr Ali Babitu Kololo,25, is escorted to Lamu Island by police officers on September 19, 2011.

Photo/GALGALO BOCHA/NATION Mr Ali Babitu Kololo,25, is escorted to Lamu Island by police officers on September 19, 2011.  

By GALGALO BOCHA and AFP

A Kenyan man has been charged with kidnapping and robbery with violence near Lamu two weeks ago.

Mr Ali Babitu Kololo, 25, was on Monday charged with the the kidnapping of Judith Tebbutt from Kiwayu Safari Village.

The suspect worked at the exclusive resort which is located on an island several kilometres from the port town of Kismayu in Somalia.

Mr Kololo on Monday denied the accusations.

“They threatened to kill me, if I did not co-operate with them. They took me by boat to a place called Odo in Somalia and we sailed to Kiwayu later that night,'' he said.

He told the court that when they reached Kiwayu Safari village, the gunmen left him outside and that is when he heard gunshots.

"My client is innocent until proven guilty, and I pray to this court that my client be given bail," said his lawyer George Wakohiu.

He argued that his client was used by the armed gang and was not part of the main group.

"It was a case of mistaken of identity and my client is innocent. Let this court consider my client's pleas of innocence," added the lawyer.

The court denied him bail, and he is due to reappear for a hearing on October 25.

A second man is being held by police and is expected to appear before the court later this week.

David Tebbutt, 58, was a finance director at the UK publishers Faber & Faber and had spent a week at the Masai Mara before travelling to the resort with his wife.

Sources say the the attackers could be members of al Shabaab terrorist group and could demand ransom for Mrs Tebbutt who was reportedly spotted at an island near Somalia.

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