Tag Archives: Kenya

Italian hostage returned from Kenya

Liberated Italian hostage Silvia Romano landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport aboard a special flight at about 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Escorted by masked men from the intelligence service, young woman temporarily removed her protective mask to wave while she descended the steps from the jet before hugging family members waiting for her at the airport. “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 media.

NGO volonteer was greeted by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the chief of Italian diplomacy Luigi Di Maio.

A group of armed men abdicted Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in northern Kenya in November 2018.

After extensive international search operations led by Italian intelligence, she was traced in Somalia, some 30 km (19 miles) outside the capital of Mogadishu, and was released due to efforts by the intelligence service, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio underlined.

In her home neighbourhood in Milan, church bells saluted her arrival, with many people on their balconies, SKY TG24 showed.

Romano is expected to meet prosecutors in Rome later on May 10 to participate in the investigatiion case of her abdiction.

“I was strong, and resisted,” Romano was quoted by Italian media as saying publically after her release.

Prime Minister Conte said that the task force working to free Romano had been in the final stages for the last months, after receiving proof that she was still alive. The head of the government added that details were not revealed to avoid compromise of the secret service operation.

We are so glad to welcome Silvia back in such a delicate moment for the country. The State is always there, and will always be there,” Conte said.

Prime Minister expressed gratitude for the efforts of the intelligence services, the judiciary and the defence and diplomacy, all involved in the release the Italian aid worker.

Italian newspapers reported that Italy’s intelligence services had launched a vast and complicated operation together with Somali and Turkish counterparts to free Romano.

Kenya: Italian hostage liberated

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli thanked all those, involved in an operation of liberation of an Italian hostage – an NGO volunteer Silvia Romano (25) kidnapped in Kenya one and a half year ago. On his Twitter accounted Sassoli wrote that he received the news with joy, and expressed gratitude to everyone who did not “give up” working on her liberation.

On May 9 Italian Prime Minister Conte announced the liberation of an NGO worker Silvia Romano in an international operation conducted by the Italian secret services.

Silvia Romano has been freed! I thank the women and men of our intelligence services. Silvia, we are waiting for you in Italy” he wrote on Twitter micro blog.

“I was strong and I resisted. I’m fine and I can’t wait to go back to Italy” these are the first words in pubblic of the young Milanese Silvia Romano after the liberation.

The operation was directed by General Luciano Carta from the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (External Intelligence and Security Agency), known as AISE with the collaboration of the Turkish and Somali services and took place last night.

The volunteer is now in safety in the compound of international forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. The return to Italy will take place tomorrow, at 2 pm at Ciampino airport, Rome, according to the media reports.

She is well and fit. Obviously tired by the existence of captivity but she is all right” said Raffaele Volpi president of Copasir (Parliamentary Committee that controls the operator of the secret services). “The compliments – he added – go to General Carta, to the men and women of the Aise who with their tireless work, never in the light of the limelight, have allowed this very important result. Thanks guys and welcome back home to Silvia”.

Immediately after her release, according to the Adnkronos news agency which cites intelligence sources, the young woman “had a long telephone conversation with her mother and with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte”.

On November 20, 2018, Silvia Romano, a volunteer for the NGO Africa Milele Onlus, devoted to children in fragile situation, mainly abandoned, had been kidnapped by a group of armed men in the village of Chakama, 80 kilometers from Malindi. A large scale manhunt was conducted, but without any success.

In December 2018, an information was obtained about her being alive and transported to Somalia, but since then her case was shrouded in silence.

The violence during the kidnapping – commented a police inspector in the capital Nairobi –looked more like a theatrical act. The kidnappers carried Silvia up to the almost entirely dry Athi Galana Sabaki river, which is quite close. They got across the river and got to the motorcycles they had left there. They could have acted by surprise, riding to Chakama, taking Silvia and leaving quickly. Instead they took a more complicated and difficult route where someone could have followed or recognized them. But they where able to get away.”

Three of her eight kidnappers were subsequently arrested in Kenya.

On the events of the kidnapping, however, everything remains to be established. According to the sources by the Rome prosecution she was held captive in Somalia by militia close to the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, the Somali organization affiliated to al-Qaeda, and was considered a “political hostage”.

Poachers killed white giraffe

Poachers have killed a rare white giraffe and its calf which caused a global interest after they were spotted at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Garissa County,Kenya.

In a statement on March 10, the conservancy’s manager Mohammed Ahmednoor said to local media the deaths were confirmed by rangers and community members.

The carcasses were found in a skeletal state, meaning they could have died a long time ago.

“This is a very sad day for the community of Ijara and Kenya as a whole. We are the only community in the world who are custodians of the white giraffe. Its killing is a blow to tremendous steps taken by the community to conserve rare and unique species and a wakeup call for continued support to conservation efforts,” Mr Ahmednoor said.

The white giraffe made headlines across globe in 2017 after its discovery, with its unique white hide. It is white but not albino, because of a condition known as leucism.

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attacks U.S. base

In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).

In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.

“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”

Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.

In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”

“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.

The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.

EU supports Kenya reforms

European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya.

“We have a close and valued partnership with Kenya, driven by common objectives and aligned with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. I’m delighted to announce these new programmes today, which will deepen our economic partnership, boost Kenya’s economic potential, improve the investment climate, and create jobs. They are further evidence of our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote sustainable development to eradicate poverty” European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen (pictured) said in Nairobi.

The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership:

  • €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya’s public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.
  • €5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030 and ‘Big 4′ agenda.

During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU. She also gave a keynote speech at the 9th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and met young leaders to exchange with them on political, economic and social issues and learn about their priorities for Kenya’s development. On Sunday, she visited the Kalobeyei refugee settlement, where the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa works with UN partners to ensure that refugees and the host community live together peacefully, have access to social services and develop economic ties to build sustainable livelihoods.

Tanzania ports exploited by traffickers

The vulnerabilities in maritime transportation and customs are being exploited by criminal traffickers in African sea ports. Container shipping facilitates the movement of wildlife goods, and maritime companies and their assets, wittingly or unwittingly complicit in wildlife trafficking, face legal, financial and reputation risks, according tot the Maritime Executive.

That’s the key message from a report into wildlife trafficking through Tanzania‘s ports which has been published ahead of a workshop organized in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, by TRAFFIC, UNDP and UNODC.

The report highlights wildlife trafficking through Dar of Salaam and Zanzibar. Whilst there have been no reported seizures linked to the ports since August 2015, there have been seizures of illicit wildlife products in the region of Dar es Salaam in recent years.

Tanzania is a biodiversity hotspot with one of Africa’s most significant elephant populations which have faced unprecedented levels of poaching recently. Tanzania, alongside neighboring countries, Kenya and Uganda have been implicated in this trade for the last decade, linked as source and exporters of ivory as well as transit countries for consignments gathered from elsewhere.

Along with ivory, Tanzanian’s ports have been used to move illegal products such as wildlife, timber, narcotics, arms and precious minerals. Source nations include Kenya, Malaysia, UAE, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines and Taiwan, with illegal products shipped to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Mogherini inaugurates EU mission in Nairobi

Today the European Union top diplomat – Federica Mogherini – inaugurates new premises of the EU Mission in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Delegation has the status of a diplomatic mission (Embassy or High Commission) and officially represents the European Union in Kenya. We promote the European Union’s (EU’s) values and interests, monitor the political, economic and commercial situation in the country and the region, oversee the various forms of cooperation between the EU and Kenya, and provide information about the EU’s relations with Kenya” the European External Action Service explains its mission. (Image above: Nairobi skyline).

The EU’s key values and interests can be summed up as: peace, people, prosperity, the planet, and partnership. Here in Kenya, the EU:

  • works together with Kenya, including through AMISOM, to promote peace in neighbouring Somalia;
  • supports democracy and devolution, helping to bring political power closer to ordinary people;
  • is Kenya’s biggest export market and a major source of private investment, as well as providing financing for Kenya’s infrastructure and rural development to spread greater prosperity in the country;
  • supports environmental conservation, which also has wider benefits for the planet;
  • works in partnership with Kenya both as a political partner (through regular political dialogue) and as a development partner (in coordination with other donors of assistance and the relevant Kenyan authorities).
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