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Somali gunmen today told Somalia Report they will demand a ransom for the body of Marie Dedieu, the elderly Frenchwoman snatched from Kenya, who died in captivity.
The comment has been confirmed by the French Ministry, according to Reuters.
The abductor told Somalia Report they will notify the media and French officials once the amount is determined.
Whether the gunmen demanding the ransom are al-Shabaab militants, pirates or bandits remains unknown.
The 66-year-old was violently taken from her home in Manda Bay, Kenya on the Lamu peninsula on October 1. An intense effort was made to track her kidnappers while she was en-route to Somalia by the Kenyan maritime forces and expat pilots, but the two planes lost sight of her and her captors as darkness descended.
Dedieu’s friends had issued an appeal for the tetraplegic to be allowed to have access to cocktail of drugs she needed to stay alive.
Scott Longfellow, a close friend of Dedieu, told Somalia Report that as well as being tetraplegic (the captors left her wheelchair behind), Marie suffered from heart problems and cancer, and needed an array of prescription medicines to stay alive. Dedieu had been prescribed Flecaine and Sectral for cardiac arrhythmia and ventricular tachycardia, and also must take aspirin, painkillers, anti-depressants and drugs for gastric reflux.
It is not the first death of an expat at the hands of Somali gunmen. Briton David Tebbutt was murdered during a kidnap in September - also in Lamu - and his wife Judith remains kidnapped in central Somalia in the same town that the Chandlers were held. Violence and disregard for victims has become a hallmark of these recent kidnappings
Judith Tebbut was abducted from the luxury resort of Kiwayu on September 19, taken to Kismayo and then spotted in the central area by local elders. Also, on October 13, two Spanish nationals were kidnapped from Kenya's Dadaab camp, bringing the total of kidnapped civilians to five (Tebbutt is being held in Amara village in central Somalia, two South African crew kidnapped in September of 2010 on the yacht Choizil, are currently held on Koyaama island). Aid workers Blanca Thiebaut, 30 and Montserrat Serra, 40, the two kidnapped Spanish aid, workers exact locations are not yet known, but they were last seen in Kismayo.
They were kidnapped while working as logisticians for Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders. There is speculation on who is holding the rapidly escalating number of civilians, tourists, aid workers and yachtsmen.
Al-Shabaab does kidnap foreigners in Somalia, but has denied any involvement - although this has not stopped Kenya from blaming the insurgent group and launching a massive military operation on Somali soil aimed at securing the long, porous border.