Italian aid worker returns home after 18 months held hostage by extremists in Africa where she converted to Islam during her ordeal
- In November 2018, Silvia Romano was taken hostage by gunmen in Kenya
- The 24-year-old was volunteering with an Italian humanitarian group at the time
- She was freed on Friday and flew home on a government plane over the weekend
- It is being reported by Italian media that she converted to Islam during captivity
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A young Italian woman held hostage in eastern Africa for 18 months returned home on Sunday.
Silvia Romano, 24, was working as a volunteer for an Italian humanitarian group in Kenya when she was abducted in November 2018 during an attack by gunmen.
Wearing a facemask as well as protective gloves and boots due to the coronavirus pandemic, she came back to Italy via a government plane landing at Rome Ciampino airport before being taken to her family home in Milan.
Silvia Romano (pictured) smiled as she made her return to Italy after spending 18 months as a hostage in eastern Africa
Ms Romano, 24, hugged her mother after coming off an Italian government plane at Rome Ciampino airport
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (left) was there to greet Ms Romano, who was wearing an African dress, at the airport
Ms Romano hugged her mother at the airport and was also greeted by key government officials, including Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who was also wearing a facemask, and the country’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio.
Mr Conte thanked the Italian intelligence agents who worked on her release last week in Somalia.
Reports in Italy say that the abductors handed her over to Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab, with the Somalian group being deemed responsible for a number of kidnappings in Kenya.
On Friday, Ms Romano was taken to the Italian embassay in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, after being freed.
She was volunteering with an Italian humanitarian group in Kenya before being abducted in November 2018 by gunmen
Ms Romano, who is reported waved towards crowds, which contained friends and acquaintances, from her family’s home near Milan
Crowds consisting of friends and acquaintances crowded the streets of the Milan neighborhood where the 24-year-old’s family lives as Ms Romano greeted them with a wave and blew a kiss from a window.
Other reports in Italy say that Ms Romano, who was wearing a green loose-fitted garment over her hair, had converted to Islam while in captivity.
The family or Italian officials are yet to comment on this but she is expected to be quizzed by Italy’s prosecutors investigating crimes abroad.