Judith Tebbutt the British tourist kidnapped from Kiwayuu Safari Village north of Lamu last September, has been released by her captors after the payment of the ransom. The Kenya Forum does not know precisely how much was paid by Mrs Tebbutt’s family – the press are quoting Sh99 million ($1,198,000) – but we fear the long-term price of paying the kidnappers will be much higher.
Judith Tebbutt has had a terrible time. In the attack that resulted in her abduction her husband David Tebbutt was killed when he tried to resist the six gunmen who attacked their holiday home. For the last seven months Mrs Tebbutt has been held in Somalia and her originally abductors sold her to another terror group.
Mrs Tebbutt was flown in to Nairobi from Galgadud, following her release. She has since been interviewed by officials at the British High Commission in Muthaiga and is now on a plane to London as this sentence is being written.
The deal that led to Mrs Tebbutt’s release was brokered by her son. Judith Tebbutt was reported in The Star as saying; “I’m just happy to be released and I’m looking forward to seeing my son who successfully secured my release.” She added, “I don’t know how he did it, but he did, which is great”.
The Kenya Forum fully understands Judith Tebbutt’s delight on being released and at the prospect of seeing her family. We understand too that if the person kidnapped was from our own family, any one of us would in all likelihood take the view that we would do whatever it takes to get our loved-one released.
However, the price of paying a ransom will be far more than the money handed over by the Tebbutt family. The kidnappers know that the market for their trade is still open. Those involved in the kidnapping business will strike again.