Italian doctor working for children’s charity killed in Watamu, Kilifi County.

Italian doctor working for children’s charity killed in Watamu, Kilifi County.

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An Italian doctor working for a children’s charity was killed and three other Italians, including her parents, wounded in an armed robbery on the house they were staying in Watamu, Kilifi county , officials said on Monday.

Rita Fossaceca, 51, was a volunteer with the For Life Onlus charity, which supports an orphanage in Mijomboni, 30 km (18 miles) inland from the tourist resorts of Malindi and Watamu.

Italian media reported the doctor had been shot dead on Saturday after trying to defend her mother from a machete attack. The other people injured were reported to be her parents and another relative.

“I am appalled and horrified by the senseless criminal attack on an Italian NGO (non governmental organisation) in Watamu,” tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala, said in a statement.

“They were here in our country supporting disabled children and their families and I am devastated to hear that they have been targeted in this way.”

He described Saturday’s attack as an isolated incident.

Fossaceca, a radiologist from Novara in northern Italy, had been in Kenya for only a few weeks on her latest trip to the country. In her final post on the NGO’s website she described buying a cow for the orphanage.

The country’s tourism industry has been hard hit in recent years by attacks carried out by the militant Islamist group al Shabaab and officials had hoped that a visit from Pope Francis last week, which passed without incident, would bring more visitors.