Kenya: Gunmen kidnap Italian aid worker

article-img

Unidentified gunmen in Kenya have kidnapped an Italian aid worker, police in the African nation say.

Men armed with AK-47 rifles seized the 23-year-old women from a guesthouse in Chakama, nearby the south-east coast, on Tuesday. The gunmen also shot and wounded a woman and four children in the attack – the first time a foreigner has been abducted in Kenya in six years.

Italian aid worker abducted in Kenya

Italy’s foreign ministry has named the woman kidnapped on Tuesday as Silvia Romano, who was working for Italian charity Africa Milele. The organisation posted a message on its website following her abduction, saying “there are no words to comment on what is happening. Silvia, we are all with you.”

According to witnesses, Romano was seized opportunistically by the gunmen who were trying to get money from locals in the area. She came out of her room to see what was going on and the gunmen took off with her, opening fire at residents as they left. One woman and four children were wounded by the gunfire, police have confirmed with one 10-year-old child being shot in the eye and a 12-year-old hit in the thigh.

The group of gunmen are yet to be identified although some witnesses told reporters they heard them speaking Somali. This is the first case of a foreigner being abducted in Kenya since 2012 when four international aid workers were abducted and one Kenyan driver was killed at Dadaab refugee camp.

The attack was blamed on Somali militant group al-Shabaab.

Featured image: Google Maps

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.