Finally released, abducted Silvia Romano coming home

'Finally Silvia Romano is free', this the announcement made by Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte who thanked members of the foreign service.

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio also celebrated her release by tweeting, “The government never leaves you behind". She is in Mogadishu safe and sound and will soon be expected in Ciampino, one of Rome's Airports.

Reports by Tgcom24 reveals that the rescue operation took place just 30 km from Mogadishu and was affected by extreme weather conditions. The operation of the AISE (External Intelligence and Security Agency), led by General Luciano Carta, was bolstered by Turkish and Somali support.

The volunteer aid worker was kidnapped during the latter part of 2018. 

The abduction

Now 25-years-old, Silvia Costanza Romano was working for the Italian humanitarian group Africa Milele, teaching young children. According to the Associated Press, she was abducted by armed men who raided the Chakama trading center in Malindi.

The violent attack resulted in the deaths of three children and five people sustaining serious injuries. The abductors were armed with guns, clubs, and machetes and went about terrorizing town residents who quickly shut down their shops and hid. Going by local witness accounts, the assailants were about twenty and were specifically looking for her. 

Romano’s life

Romano majored in linguistic studies while in Milan and taught gymnastics at the Zero Gravity gym in the same city. The developments took many by surprise as Romano seemed to be having a good time in Kenya. Before her kidnapping, she communicated with her former work colleagues in Milan expressing her love for the country, the people, and her job.

Extortion racket

It turned out the attack was not terror-linked as investigations revealed criminal links with local gangs who abducted her in their extortion racket. She was later sold to a terror-linked group. The conclusion was conveyed by the Kenyan Public Prosecutor, Noordin Haji who attended a summit in Rome alongside other senior Kenyan security officials.


The Rome Summit revealed that she was sold to another gang. However, two members of the original gang were arraigned in court on July 29. It was believed she eventually made her way to an Al Shabaab cell which smuggled her into Somalia. So far three people have been charged.

Security situation

With the war against the Somali Islamist extremist groups ravaging Somalia, the war occasionally spills over into Kenya next door. After a spate of captures, Kenya launched a military incursion into Somalia in 2011 that continues to this day.