Abducted Italian volunteer released after two years in captivity

By David Karani

Italian volunteer Silvia Constanca Romano, who was kidnapped by suspected Al Shabaab gunmen from Chakama in Kilifi County in November 2018, has been released.

Her release was made by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte through his official Twitter page on Saturday, thanking Italy’s intelligence services.

“Silvia Romano has been released. I thank the women and men of the external intelligence services. Silvia, we are waiting for you in Italy,” he wrote.

Ms Romano, a trained medical practitioner working with a non-governmental organisation known as African Milele Onlus, had been staying in a house in the area.

She was attacked on November 20 by gunmen who left five residents with bullet wounds.

According to intelligence reports, Ms Romano was held captive in Somalia for the last one year.

It was also said that the abductors demanded ransom from the Italian government and her family for her release.

In December 2018, however, Kenyan police officers said that Ms Romano, then 23 years old, was alive and was being held in the country.

In January 2019, they refuted reports that she had been taken to Somalia following the abduction.

At the time, a multi-agency team comprising police and army officers sealed off Boni Forest and areas bordering Lamu, Garissa and Tana River counties as they searched for her.

Police later arrested three people including one Ibrahim Adan Omar, on whose head a Sh1 million bounty was placed.

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