Kidnapped Brit Judith Tebbutt is being held hostage by a gang of Kenyan and Somali pirates, it is believed.

Tebbutt, a 56-year-old social worker, is thought to be unhurt. Her husband David was shot dead by bandits as they raided the couple's luxury beach hut in a Kenyan resort at the weekend. The luxury Kiwayu Safari Village is near the border with Somalia.

According to The Mirror newspaper, labourers at the port of Kismayo – capital of Somalia's Lower Juba region – saw masked gunmen arrive in two speedboats, one of which had a "white hostage" onboard.

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The Somalian city is apparently controlled by Islamic militant group al-Shabaab, believed to have links with al-Qaeda.

The Mirror also reports that a former employee of the Kenyan resort has admitted to leading the gang to the couple's hut.

The tabloid quotes a police source as saying: “Ali Babitu said he was taken captive by the bandits and spent several hours as a hostage. They knew he had worked at the hotel and waited until dark before forcing him to lead them to the beach huts.”

A team of Metropolitan Police has travelled to Kenya to assist with the investigation.