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London extends travel warning for Somalia

LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- With violence and kidnappings threatening the Somali border with Kenya, London warned against all but essential travel to within 90 miles of the Somali coast.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in a travel advisory, extended its warning area from about 35 miles to 90 miles from coastal areas of the Somali border.

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The warning following two attacks by armed gangs against beach resorts. Two Westerners were kidnapped and one was killed in the attacks, London said.

Officials during the weekend said they were unable to stop Somali gunmen who kidnapped a French woman from her holiday home in northern Kenya. A sea battle to rescue the woman was unsuccessful.

Her name wasn't released, though authorities say they believe she was taken deeper into an area of Somalia run by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab has tried to recapture territory from Somali government-allied militias in heavy fighting along the Kenya-Somalia border. The Islamist militant group also is breaking up camps for Somalia famine victims, sending tens of thousands of starving people back to drought-stricken areas.

The militant group controls much of the southern one-third of Somalia, an area hard hit by famine caused by drought and war.

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