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French Somali hostage Dedieu dead, officials believe

Reuters/Handout/Files
2 min

The handicapped French woman who was kidnapped in Kenya on 1 October is dead, the French foreign ministry announced Wednesday. The government believes that her captors did not give 66-year-old Marie Dedieu medicine that it had sent for her.

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Dedieu was suffering from cancer and a weak heart and, although she was disabled, the kidnappers did not take her wheelchair when they grabbed her from her home on the Kenyan island of Manda.

Now the French government’s contacts in the region have told officials that she has died, although without saying when or why.

“Mme Dedieu’s health, the lack of certainty about the conditions of her captivity, the fact that the kidnappers probably refused to give her the medicine that we sent her, lead us to believe that this tragic outcome is unfortunately the most likely,” foreign ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said Wednesday.

Local sources say that Dedieu was taken across the border into Somalia to the coastal village of Ras Kamboni and from there to another location in Lower Juba region.

France is demanding that he body be returned “without conditions”.

Valero condemned “the total lack of humanity and cruelty of her kidnappers”, adding, “We want them to be identified and brought to justice.”

Dedieu was a feminist activist in France in the 1970s.

British tourist Judith Tebbutt and two Spanish aid workers have also been kidnapped in Kenya and apparently taken to Somalia.

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