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Kenyan charged after Britons' murder, abduction

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 19 Sep 2011 13:04 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Faces robbery with violence and kidnapping charges

* Pleaded not guilty; trial due next month - magistrate

LAMU, Kenya, Sept 19 (Reuters) - A man was charged in a Kenyan court on Monday following the murder of a British tourist and the abduction of his wife at a remote beach resort near the border with lawless Somalia, a local magistrate and police said.

Unidentified gunmen raided the Kiwayu Safari Village in the early hours of Sept. 11, shooting dead publishing executive David Tebbutt, 58, and taking hostage his wife Judith, 56, before escaping by boat.

Kenyan Ali Babitu Kololo was charged with robbery with violence and kidnapping with intention to murder at a magistrate's court in the northern coastal town of Lamu. Robbery with violence is a capital offence in Kenya.

"He pleaded not guilty and the case will be .... heard on October 25," Lamu Senior Resident Magistrate Rwito Kithinji told Reuters, adding that Kololo was also due in court Oct. 4 for a preliminary hearing.

Somali pirates said on Sunday they were holding the kidnapped tourist.

Kidnapping has chiefly been carried out by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean but Somali gunmen have attacked Westerners just across the border with Kenya on several occasions.

Kenyan police believe Kololo may have been in working with the attackers at Kiwayu, a luxury 18-cottage resort in a marine reserve that has a chain of islands and coral reefs.

"More charges may be preferred depending on the investigation's outcome. The suspect, we believe, was very much aware of the attack, may have harboured the bandits, knowing very well what they had intended to do," said a senior police source in Lamu. (Reporting by Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi and Caroline Mango in Mombasa; Writing by Duncan Mririri; Editing by James Macharia and David Stamp)

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