Gunmen kidnapped an Italian woman and wounded several other people in the first kidnapping of a foreigner in Kenya in several years, authorities and witnesses said Wednesday.
Silvia Costanza Romano, a 23-year-old volunteer working with Kenyan students, had begged for help before she was violently taken away by the attackers who stormed the Chakama trading center on the coastal county of Kilifi at around 8 p.m. on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.
Romano, who studied linguistic mediation in Milan, had told friends back home how happy she had been in Kenya and had planned to stay at least until the end of the year because she felt enriched "like never before in my life."
Five people were wounded in the attack, including three children, said Kenya's police chief, Joseph Boinnet. The motive for the abduction isn't clear and the identity of the attackers is not yet known, he said.
Romano had been working for the Italian-based humanitarian group Africa Milele, according to Boinnet and Italy's foreign ministry.