Abducted Italian dealing in ivory trade, cops claim (Kenya)

Feb 19, 2019 | News

Sophie Njoka, Media Max Network

Investigations into the abduction of Italian aid worker Silvia Romano have taken a new twist after it emerged that she may have been involved in the multi-billion-shilling ivory trafficking business. 

Police investigations indicate that Romano, who was abducted from a remote village in Chakama, Kilifi county had bought ivory pieces from Said Adan Abdi, one of the suspected abductors on November 20, 2018 moments before she was abducted from her hotel room by three armed men.  

Police investigations reveal that Romano was in constant communication with one of the kidnappers a few days prior to her abduction. 

Police now believe that it was a business deal gone sour after Romano, who had bought unknown amount of illegal ivory from Abdi failed to pay for the illegal ivory which had been supplied to her and managed to smuggle out of the country since April 2017. 

“We highly suspect that she was dealing in ivory trade and police investigations now indicate that she had not paid for huge amount of ivory, which had been supplied to her by one of her abductors, and despite her having sold it outside Kenya, she never honoured her promise of paying her suppliers,” said an officer privy to the ongoing investigations.

Demanding Ransom 

Police have now changed focus, on Romano’s kidnapping being related to a terrorist kidnapping and are now looking at the possibility of her involvement in dealing in illegal ivory trade.

According to the officer, who is not authorised to speak to the media, it is said her kidnappers are believed to be demanding ransom to recover their money in the  ivory smuggling syndicate. 

It is alleged that prior to her kidnapping, Romano had received several text messages from Abdi, threatening her that she should pay them their money by end November. 

Police investigations indicate that the senior Kenya Wildlife Service officer (KWS) has shed light into the mysterious disappearance of the 23-year-old aid worker after he was arrested, alongside his brother three months ago in relation to the abduction. 

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