Marie Dedieu, 66, a handicapped Frenchwoman who was kidnapped from her beachfront Kenyan home and taken to neighbouring Somalia has died, the French government confirmed on Wednesday.

"/> Marie Dedieu, 66, a handicapped Frenchwoman who was kidnapped from her beachfront Kenyan home and taken to neighbouring Somalia has died, the French government confirmed on Wednesday.

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KIDNAP

France confirms death of kidnapped woman

Marie Dedieu, 66, a handicapped Frenchwoman who was kidnapped from her beachfront Kenyan home and taken to neighbouring Somalia has died, the French government confirmed on Wednesday.

“The contacts through which the French government was seeking to obtain the release of Marie Dedieu, held in Somalia since October 1th, have announced her death, but we have not been able to determine the date nor the circumstances,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Mrs Dedieu’s state of health, uncertainty over the conditions of her detention and the fact that the kidnappers probably refused to give her the medication that we sent her lead us to believe that this tragic outcome is unfortunately the most likely,” the ministry said.

A gang of 10 armed men seized Dedieu, 66, from Manda Island in Kenya’s Lamu archipelago earlier this month and fled by sea to Somalia, fighting off an attempt by Kenya’s navy to stop them.

There had been serious concern over the health of Dedieu, who was wheelchair-bound after an accident several years ago and required medication every few hours.

The ministry said it had informed Dedieu’s family of her death and was demanding the unconditional return of her remains.

“The French government expresses its profound shock, great sadness and solidarity with the family and loved ones of Marie Dedieu,” it said.

“It also expresses its indignation at the cruelty and complete absence of humanity shown by our compatriot’s abductors, whom we want to see identified and brought to justice.”

Kenyan officials said they suspected Somali Islamist Shebab insurgents had carried out the abduction, but sources in Somalia dismissed the theory.

Dedieu had lived for 15 years in the Lamu archipelago, off Kenya’s northern coast.

Her kidnap was the second in the area in less than a month and dealt a further blow to Kenya’s tourist trade after France and Britain warned travellers to avoid the Kenyan coastline near Somalia.

A British tourist, Judith Tebbutt, was seized to the north of Lamu and taken to Somalia on September 11 by an armed gang who killed her husband. She is believed to have been sold to pirates now holding her in central Somalia.

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KIDNAP

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice

The millionaire Riviera business woman who was kidnapped in broad daylight in Nice two days ago has been found alive after being abandoned by her kidnappers.

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Jacqueline Veyrac, the 76-year-old millionaire head of the Grand Hotel in Cannes, was kidnapped in Nice in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

But on Wednesday, two days after disappearing, French media reported that Veyrac had been found alive in Nice.

According to reports she was found after being bound then abandoned in the boot of a vehicle. The business woman managed to get out of her own accord and seek help from neighbours. 

She had suffered what were described as light injuries. Two men were also reportedly arrested following her appearance.

Police had been desperately hunting for the woman, who on Monday had been forced into a car by kidnappers while several passers-by looked on.

The freesheet French daily 20 Minutes quoted the family's lawyer Sophie Jonquet as saying the kidnappers contacted one of Veyrac's sons on Monday afternoon.

“The family is very upset and won't make any statements at this stage. Too much has already been said and I don't want to put my client in danger,” she told the paper.

Veyrac, whose husband died five years ago, co-owns the five-star Grand Hotel in nearby Cannes with one of her sons and the pair run a gourmet restaurant in Nice called La Reserve.

She was the victim of a kidnapping attempt three years ago whose motive was never discovered.

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