Official: French hostage in Somalia dead

Oct. 19, 2011 at 9:56 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A French woman kidnapped in Kenya nearly three weeks ago is dead, the French Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday.

Ministry officials said they don't think the captors gave 66-year-old Marie Dedieu medications the ministry sent for her, Radio France Internationale reported.

Dedieu was handicapped and diagnosed with cancer and a weak heart, officials said. Despite her disability, the kidnappers did not take her wheelchair when they grabbed Dedieu from her home Oct. 1. Sources said the one-time feminist activist was taken across the border into Somalia.

The French government said its contacts in the region alerted officials of Dedieu's death, but did not say when or how she died, RFI reported.

"[Ms.] 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.

France demanded Dedieu's body be returned "without conditions."

Valero condemned "the total lack of humanity and cruelty of her kidnappers."

"We want them to be identified and brought to justice," he said.

RFI said a British tourist and two Spanish aid workers also were kidnapped in Kenya and apparently taken to Somalia.

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