Gunmen in Kenya abduct Italian aid worker

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Gunmen in Kenya abduct Italian aid worker

A group of unidentified gunmen have abducted an Italian woman working for an aid organisation in south-east Kenya, police said on Wednesday.

The men, reportedly armed with rifles, "fired indiscriminately" before taking the 23-year-old volunteer from a trading centre in Kilifi County.

Five people, including three children, were wounded and taken to hospital.

The reason for the attack and the identity of the attackers has not yet been established, police said.

The organisation she was working for, Africa Milele Onlus, has posted a short statement on its website saying: "There are no words to comment on what is happening. Silvia, we are all with you."

She has been named in Italian media as Silvia Costanza Romano.

Kenyan police say they were treating the incident, which occurred at about 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Tuesday, as a terror attack.

This is the first foreigner to be kidnapped in Kenya since the country had a spate of abductions threaten its tourism resurgence in 2011.

Image Copyright @NPSOfficial_KE @NPSOfficial_KE Report
Twitter post by @NPSOfficial_KE: The National Police Service wishes to inform the public that last evening at about 8pm, a gang of men armed with AK 47 rifles attacked Chakama Trading centre in Chakama, Makongeni sub location in Kilifi county, about 80 kilometres west of Malindi town.  1/6 Image Copyright @NPSOfficial_KE @NPSOfficial_KE Report

"The European lady got out of her room, instead of lying on the ground, to enquire what was going on," an eye-witness told local media. "One of the attackers then slapped her."

Another witness told news agency Reuters that he tried to help Ms Romano but one of the attackers hit him with a club.

"I saw them taking the lady down towards the riverside, they were asking her for money. ' We need money, we need money, we are not going to hurt you'", another witness said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The attack happened at the guesthouse where the aid worker was staying

Police described the five injured as aged between 10 and 23 years of age – the youngest suffering a bullet in the eye.

The Italian foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was aware of the reports of the abduction and it was looking into the situation.

Police have not confirmed any links to Islamist militants from al-Shabab, who are blamed for several deadly attacks on Kenyan soldiers in recent months in Lamu County, north of Kilifi.

Al-Shabab, who are based in neighbouring Somalia, attacked a shopping mall in the capital Nairobi in 2013, killing 67 people.

The al Qaeda-linked group are also thought to be responsible for killing a British man and kidnapping his wife from a resort island in 2011.

A few weeks later, a disabled French woman was taken from her home on the Lamu archipelago and reportedly died while in captivity.

Two Spanish aid workers were then also abducted by suspected jihadist gunmen from the Dadaab refugee camp close to the Somali border.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.