Freed Italian aid worker returns home

Silvia Romano, an Italian aid worker who was kidnapped by gunmen in Kenya 18 months ago, hugs her father, Enzo Romano, at Ciampino military airport in Rome, Italy, May 10, 2020. Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via REUTERSIMAGE

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Silvia Romano, an Italian aid worker kidnapped 18 months ago in East Africa, landed in Rome on Sunday a day after being freed.

Gunmen seized Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in southeastern Kenya in November 2018. No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

She was found in Somalia, some 30 km (19 miles) outside the capital, Mogadishu, and was released thanks to efforts by the external intelligence agency, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

Romano, 24, touched down at Rome’s Ciampino airport aboard a special flight at about 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Escorted by masked men from the intelligence service, she temporarily removed her protective mask to wave as she descended the steps from the jet before hugging relatives waiting for her at the airport. 

She was greeted by Di Maio and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

“I am literally bursting with joy at this moment. But it is hard even only to think, please let me breathe. I need to withstand the shock, happiness is so big that it is exploding,” Silvia’s father, Enzo, was quoted as saying by several Italian newspapers on Sunday.