Italian aid worker kidnapped in Kenya freed

Silvia Romano, an Italian aid worker who was kidnapped in Kenya 18 months ago, has been freed and is expected back in Italy on Sunday, the Italian government announced on Saturday.

Speaking to state broadcaster RAI, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Romano was found in Somalia and was released thanks to the external intelligence agency. Asked about the release, Di Maio said he could not reveal any details. Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on its website that Italy paid a ransom to free the woman.

Kenyan government officials were not immediately available to comment on Romano's release. Gunmen seized Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in northern Kenya in November 2018.

No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, which brought fears of an upsurge in attacks by militants. Police and residents said at the time that the gunmen seized the young woman from a guesthouse in Chakama, a small town south of the border with Somalia and near the coast.

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