A detective says a Kenyan accused of kidnapping a Briton was among armed pirates involved in the incident.
Mr Neil Hibberd of Counter Terrorism and Serious Crime Unit of Scotland Yard told the Lamu court there were many reasons he believed Ali Babitu Kololo was involved in the kidnapping of Mrs Judith Tebbutt to Somalia while on holiday in Lamu with her murdered husband.
“You honour, according to statements from the hotel askaris and management, the accused had worked before at the hotel as a grass cutter and a person levelling sand with the hotel. He knew very well the area and even the daily work routine,” said detective Hibberd.
He added: “Judith said while in captivity, one of the pirates told her that they had to wait until midnight to abduct her. This is a very crucial point. It is definite they were guided to the hotel by someone who knew that the lights would be put off, and askaris would leave for Mkokoni Village to take tea or coffee.”
Mr Hibberd went further to quote the conversation between the freed British woman and one of the pirates. “I quote Judith as saying, ‘I am aware from my conversation I had with Ali that a sixth member of the pirates had been left behind during my abduction. Ali stated that there was another man. He was stuck in Kenya. They leave him in Kenya, very bad’.”
“Your honour, this man in my investigation is Ali Babitu Kololo who is before this court,” he said.
Mr Hibberd further told the court he conducted his independent investigations and found that there were a lot of discrepancies in reports of different witnesses.
“This was because most of them did not have watches with them to confirm the exact time of the incident,” he said.
He said that a shoe print similar to one found with the accused during his arrest was spotted in various places around the beaches and cottages.
“The shoe print was of Tanga shoes predominately and commonly worn by Somalis, and George Moorhead the owner of the Kiwayu Safari Village hotel could not allow his employees to put on such shoes. It wasn’t an unusual thing to find such a footprint around the hotel,” he added.
The officer added that a trail of shoe prints suggested the gang had peered into other Banda huts before targeting potential people to abduct.
“The shoe print was first spotted around Banda Three and then Banda Seven where Mr George Moorehead and his wife were living, but that night Mr Moorehead spent his night at Banda Eight. It then went to Banda Zero where Mrs Tebbutt and her husband George were staying. The gang did not indicate sign of running as they went round each of the Banda and check for people from behind,”
On Tuesday, a warrant of arrest was issued against a senior government doctor and six police officers who failed to appear before the Lamu court to give evidence in a case where a Kenyan is accused of kidnapping a British tourist last year.
The court ordered that Dr Peter Njenga be arrested for failing to show up and give his evidence regarding the case where Mr Kololo is accused of abducting Ms Tebbutt.
The court also ordered the arrest of three administration officers who were guarding Kiwayu Safari Village hotel on the night of September 22, 2011 when armed Somali pirates attacked and abducted Ms Tebbutt and murdered her husband, David.
“The following witnesses have to be arrested and brought before this court. They include Dr Peter Njenga of Kenyatta National Hospital who has no reason for not appearing in court today,” the magistrate ordered.
The three male officers based at Mkokoni AP post are Hillary Chemjo, Gabriel Mulee and Cliff Odara.
“The order will be executed by OCS Kiunga who is in this court. There is no excuse for witnesses not to be here today. I have issued them with the warrant believing that they absconded this court without any explanation,” observed the magistrate in his ruling.
On Monday the court received evidence from Mrs Tebbutt who was freed in March this year after being held in captivity for six months by Somali pirates who were allegedly paid Sh90 million as ransom. (READ: UK hostage Judith Tebbutt freed in Somalia)