Home / World / The abduction of Silvia Romano in Kenya, what we know a year later

The abduction of Silvia Romano in Kenya, what we know a year later

One year has passed since Silvia Romano was kidnapped. It was November 20, 2018, when the Milanese relief worker was removed from her humanitarian operations in Chakama, a village 80 kilometers from Malindi, Kenya. The latest news, as evidenced by the development of the investigation by Rome's prosecutor and Carabinieri del Ros, reports that the 24-year-old was detained in Somalia by an Islamist group linked to al-Shabaab jihadists.

Who is Silvia Romano

Silvia Costanza Romano, 24, degree in linguistic mediation for security and social defense at Ciels, European Linguistic Intermediation Center. In the summer of 201

8, he decided to leave Africa alone for his first experience of volunteering at an orphanage in Likoni, which is managed by the nonprofit organization "Orphan & # 39; s Dream". Silvia continued her business with the small nonprofit organization in the Marche region "Africa Milele" (which operates in the African country on child support projects) in Chakama, before returning to Italy, but then decided to continue her involvement in Africa, where she had returned in early November 2018. The girl also taught artist gymnastics in a historic Milanese gym and acted as acrobatic instructor in a sports center.

On November 20, 2018

November 20, 2018 Silvia Romano is kidnapped during an armed attack by a group of eight people belonging to a local gang who are looted at the office of the organization she works for, with rifles and machetes. The Kenyan police report that armed men in the attack "blurred" and wounded five people. A witness, a boy who is studying thanks to the nonprofit organization that Silvia Romano works for, says that the target of the armed men was just the girl and that they let go and tied her hands behind her back before removing her. Silvia was removed without a cellphone and passed on a motorcycle to a wooded area near the river Tana.

The first arrests

In the days following the abduction, the difficult phase of the investigations and attempts to reach the kidnappers. The first arrests come a few days after the kidnapping: there are 14 people who would not have been part of the command but "could have had contact with the group of kidnappers if they were not really accomplices". Other arrests are then made: the wife and father-in-law of one of the three suspected kidnappers end up in handcuffs and names and photos are released. To encourage witnesses, a prize of over 25 thousand euros is promised. During the first days of the kidnapping, the Kenyan authorities continue to leak confidence: "We have almost reached the kidnappers," says November 26. "There is optimism about the liberation of Silvia Romano," repeats on November 28, claiming that the kidnappers would now be "surrounded" in the bush.

Confirmation that Christmas was still alive

The days are passing, but the solution of the story, which seemed close, will not come. On December 26, news of Silvia Romano comes from the Kenyan law enforcement. "She lives and is still in Kenya," assures the regional police, with the exception that the girl was taken to neighboring Somalia Coast Police Chief Noah Mwivanda declares he has "crucial information" confirming it, but that it cannot be "revealed." The confirmation that the 24-year-old was definitely alive at Christmas comes from a summit in Rome between the Italian and Kenyan judiciary in July 2019: the girl was then transferred to another gang of kidnappers. The confirmation that the young Milanese are alive until December 25, 2018 comes from the states made by two Kenyan citizens who were arrested on December 26, when they were considered among the perpetrators of the kidnapping.

Moved to Somalia

For months, almost none of the investigators and the Italian government leaked. In late September 2019, Il Giornale, in an article citing sources for Italian services, said that after the kidnapping, the young woman would be forced to Islamize and marry in Somalia with a man linked to the organization who would hold her hostage. A reconstruction was denied by the investigators. At the end of September, Agi, citing a source of intelligence, reports that "Silvia is alive and everything is being done to get her home." On November 18, investigators confirmed the hypothesis that the 24-year-old is in Somalia at the hands of an Islamic group.

The kidnapping trial

Of the eight material abductors, five are currently being sought while two have been arrested: a third person ended up in handcuffs, a 35-year-old Somali citizen, who is in possession of one of the weapons in that village, he acknowledged their responsibility. The trial of the three kidnappers, Moses Luwali Chembe, Abdalla Gababa Wario and Ibraiam Adam Omar, was to be held in July but postponed twice, the other because Adam Omar, in custody and considered the most dangerous man of the three, did not show up at the last hearing, on November 14. The judges declared him "formally" fleeting.

The doubts and uncertainties

R there are still many doubts and uncertainties. It is not yet clear when Silvia was taken to Somalia: either immediately after the abduction or the following months. There are many unclear points. First, if it is true that the young Italian woman is in Somalia, there is no news of a claim to this, and after a year's removal, all this seems unusual. The second factor: was there a ransom note? If it is true that the abduction commissioners are jihadist groups linked to al Shabaab, the demand and demand for redemption for the liberation of the young Italian woman should be discounted.

The request for transparency to the executive

Some politicians and members of the association have repeatedly asked the government to clarify. Pippo Civati, leader of Possible, writes in a tweet : "I think it is right that a year later there is an official communication from our executive about Silvia Romano's situation. For many unofficial votes, for many half the truth, for a lot of gossip. "Nino Sergi, founder and president emeritus of Intersos and policy adviser for Link 2007, once again heard his voice by sending a second open letter to General Luciano Carta, head of Aise, the external intelligence service" Twelve months are many – writes Sergi – For those waiting for his release, they seem endless ". Sergi continues to emphasize that he "has no title to speak on Silvia's behalf, but what I write to her expresses the concern and concern of many people for her release and her life."

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