Freed hostage never saw suspect

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iol news pic Judith Tebbutt

Reuters

British hostage Judith Tebbutt speaks during an interview following her release from her kidnappers, in Adado March 21, 2012. REUTERS/ITV News via Reuters TV

Lamu, Kenya - A British woman freed from captivity by Somali pirates in March told a Kenyan court on Monday she had never seen the man accused by Kenyan authorities of her kidnap, dealing a potential blow to the prosecution's case.

Judith Tebbutt, who testified from Britain via a video link, was abducted from a remote beach resort near the Somali border in September by gunmen who shot dead her husband, David, before escaping by speedboat.

“I have never seen this man before,” Tebbutt said, referring to the Kenyan suspect Ali Babitu Kololo.

“He was not one of the men who took me out of the banda (beach cottage). He was not present on the boat (nor) held me during the time I was in captivity,” she told the court.

Kololo, who was sacked from his job at the Kiwayu Safari Village several months before the attack, faces charges of robbery with violence and kidnapping with intention to murder. Robbery with violence is a capital offence in Kenya.

Kenya has had stable diplomatic relations with war-torn Somalia, but sent troops into its troubled neighbour last October in pursuit of al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels, accusing the militants of cross-border attacks on its territory.

Kololo has pleaded not guilty. The case continues. - Reuters


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