This content is not available in your region

Gunmen kidnap Italian aid worker during attack in Kenya

Access to the comments Comments
By Angela Barnes
Residents look at a police helicopter patrolling the area
Residents look at a police helicopter patrolling the area   -   Copyright  REUTERS   -   Residents look at a police helicopter patrolling near the closed house, where Italian volunteer for the Italian charity Africa Milele lived before she was seized, in Chakama trading centre of Magarini, Kilifi County

Gunmen have kidnapped an Italian volunteer in the coastal region of Kilifi in Kenya, according to police.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed to Euronews the identity of the aid worker as 23-year-old Silvia Costanza Romano from Milan.

The National Police Service said on Twitter she had been working for Africa Milele Onlus, an NGO operating in the area.

Euronews was not able to reach the NGO, but its president, Lilian Sora, spoke to Italian news agency ANSA. 

"The kidnapping of the 23-year-old Italian volunteer took place in a part of Kenya where there are no shopping malls, at most a little shop where beans are sold and where, above all, nothing like this ever happens," she said. 

"The people who live in the village told us that four to five armed individuals arrived and threw a firecracker, had the sand lifted and fired several times.

"Then they went, without hesitation, to the house where our volunteer was, probably because they knew there was an Italian girl there, even if I can't explain the reason for what happened. At that moment she was alone, because others had left and others will arrive in the next few days." 

Police said on Twitter that the attackers "fired indiscriminately at residents" with AK-47 rifles.

The National Police Service in Kenya tweeted an update

Five people, all under the age of 25, were also wounded in the attack, and were taken to hospital. 

Police said they are pursuing the attackers but don't yet know the motive for the attack.

"We assure the public that we are sparing no effort in tracking down the criminals," police said.

Police in Kenya said they are pursuing the attackers