Kenya’s tourism authorities have sought to reassure travellers following the “heinous” killing of a British tourist and the kidnapping of his wife.

The African country’s tourism minister Najib Balala said: “We strongly condemn this senseless act of violence on innocent visitors to our country.”

The Kenya tourism ministry confirmed that David Tebutt was killed and his wife abducted in an attack on the Kiwayu Safari Village, situated in Kiwayu Island near the Kenya-Somali Border.

It was reported this morning that British special forces have joined the hunt for Tebutt’s wife Judith, who is thought to have been taken by Somali bandits or a group aligned to Islamic extremists. She was kidnapped by men in a speedboat and thought to have been taken across the nearby border with Somalia.  

“The government of Kenya expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the bereaved and their loved ones,” Balala said. “We wish to give the ministry’s assurance that the government considers security of tourists to be of paramount importance and that very serious attention is being given to this matter, to ensure the safety of all our visitors continues to be priority.

“The Ministry of Tourism is working together with the relevant security organisations to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice. A team of security personnel are already on the ground and a massive manhunt of the perpetrators of this heinous act has been launched.

“We further wish to reassure tourists in the coastal border towns and indeed all over the country of the high level security for our tourists.”

Kenya Tourist Board managing director Muriitgi Ndegwa added: “We wish to reassure all our local and overseas travel trade that the safety of our tourists is paramount and the government has proper machinery in place to ensure high level security of our tourists.”