Kidnapped Italian Aid Worker Held in Somalia Returns Home

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A kidnapped Italian aid worker who had been held in an al-Shabab-controlled area of Somalia has been freed.

Silvia Romano arrived in Rome on Sunday after being freed outside Mogadishu on Saturday. She spent overnight in a safe location in Mogadishu before being flown home.

Security officials told VOA Somali that Romano was recovered from a forest near the town of Afgoye, 30 kilometers west of Mogadishu.

Romano, who was working for an Italian charity was abducted by gunmen in November 2018 in Kilifi County, Kenya. It’s not clear how the gunmen managed to transport her into Somalia.

Somali security sources say they believe she was kidnapped by al-Shabab militants who previously abducted aid workers and demanded ransom.

The abduction of two Spanish aid workers working for Doctors Without Borders in October 2011 was one of reasons Kenya government gave for its subsequent military intervention into Somalia that year.

Al-Shabab also harbors bandits including pirates who abduct foreign sailors, and aid workers.

Three Iranian sailors, two Cuban doctors, two Kenyans and a German nurse working for the ICRC are still being held in areas controlled by al-Shabab.

VOA

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