Muslim clerics pile pressure on police over kidnapped Italian

Muslims celebrate Maulid in Malindi constituency on December 5 /ALPHONCE GARI
Muslims celebrate Maulid in Malindi constituency on December 5 /ALPHONCE GARI

Muslim clerics in Kilifi want security personnel to give updates on the operation to rescue the abducted Italian aid worker Silvia Romano.

Led by Ali Omar from Ganda in Malindi, the clerics said that the rescue operations had taken too long and Kenyans needed to know about Silvia.

Speaking at Mkaomoto during Maulid celebrations on Wednesday, Omar said it was now more than 20 days sice she was kidnapped.

He said nothing had been made public on the progress of the security operations.

Omar said the continuous delay in rescuing the Italian was affecting the economy.

Already some hotels in Malindi have recorded many cancellations during the festive season, when the expected 100 per cent occupancy.

“Tourists are the ones who build our economy. We need to get her back quickly and alive to give confidence to tourists about their safety,’’ the cleric said.

He called on police in the county to beef up security during the festivities to avoid another kidnapping.

Ganda MCA Abdulrahman Mohamed said the government has failed to tell the world about the whereabouts of Silvia.

He called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to come out and update the world about the rescue operation as it was huritng huring tourism.

Mohamed said by next week if the government will not have rescued Silvia, then it should admit they have failed to secure her releases.

The MCA said many tourists would like to tour Malindi but are first waiting for the news of the Italian.

“If she is found alive, tourism will pick up well and there will be confidence once more in the security of this area,” he said.

Coast regional security bosses who are leading the operation have not yet confirmed or issued any statements regarding the rescue.

On Monday, three people including the wife of one of the abductors were arraigned in court but were not charged as police sought more time to complete investigations.

Since the abduction, there has been a major security operation comprising KDF, police, GSU, KWS and AP officers together with special forces tracking the suspects believed to be hiding in the forest.

Coast regional police boss Noah Mwivanda said officers had also deployed to the area. On Sunday, hundreds of Christians and Muslims in Kilifi held special prayers for the safe return of Silvia.

Before her abduction on November 20, Silvia was the manager of African Milele Onlus.

She was kidnapped from her rental house by gunmen in Chakama village who also shot and injured five people, including a 10-year-old boy.

Last week, reports from Italian media indicated there could be ongoing secret negotiations initiated by the Italian government.

Italian public broadcaster Rai TV showed pictures of plaited hair that had been recovered from Dakatcha woodland forest.

A team of journalists from Italian TV stations and newspapers are in Malindi covering the operations.

Immediately after the abduction, tan editorial in Courier Delasera, an influential newspaper in Italy, questioned why Romano came to assist people in a remote village of Kenya while even in Italy there were people who needed help.