Special for Africa ExPress
Massimo A. Alberizzi
Malindi, giugno 2019
In the difficult story of Silvia Romano, kidnapped in Kenya on November 20th 2018, the police are in clear difficulty. Talking to different investigators, one has the impression that everyone knows who the kidnappers are, but that few are aware who is investigating the seizure. According to the news gathered in the Kenyan capital, there should be three people in prison : Ibrahim, a Somali who obtained the Kenyan citizenship and passport illegally; Gababa, from Orma tribe, and Moses Luari Chende, giriama tribe, the ethnic group that lives on the coast. The formed is living in the village of Kwamwanza as he is no longer in prison nor is his wife, Elizabeth Kasena, from the village of Ghaba, next to Chakama, who was also arrested a few days after Silvia’s abduction. According to a source “The woman ended up in handcuffs because phone calls were made from her phone to the kidnappers’ numbers.”
Moses instead is accused of contributing to the logistics of the kidnapping, with claims that he helped the bandits. In the days immediately following November 20th, he brought food and other basic necessities to those who had taken the young Italian volunteer, explained a young police officer to me and to Hillary Duens, an American colleague present.
Elizabeth was released on bail after a few days. They had set the amount at 50 thousand shillings ( around 500 euros) but then the amount fell to 30 thousand (300 euros). In Chakama, a family lives with 2,000 shillings a month – about twenty euros. Five hundred or even three hundred euros is a fairly substantial amount.
Moses has also left jail after paying a bail. No one has been able to tell us for sure how, but according to some information, which Hillary and I have not been able to verify ,he may have been helped by some friends. Moses seems to be involved in the world of wildlife poaching and his “colleagues” would not have felt like they could abandon him in the hands of the police.
Elizabeth’s arrest aroused considerable amazement among the staff of Africa Milele, the organization which Silvia worked for. Both her and her family had been beneficiaries of the the organization. Furthermore, she had a daily relationship with Silvia, who always went to eat at the Chakama Cafe where Elizabeth worked.
News about Moses is even more difficult to find. Those who provided his picture and tried to get more details fear some retaliation, but it is certain that even if the Kenyan police report their current arrest, the two young people are free and have returned to the Chakama area.
Another Kenyan police inspector tells us: “With our investigations we ascertained that the three obeyed the orders of a chief, a certain Adan, the man who conceived the abduction. Adan was in Chakama three times and slept in the Togo guest house, opposite to the one where Silvia lived. Witnesses told us that he didn’t have much to do and we were convinced that he had gone there to check the situation. We put together the data of the three with those of Adan and we saw that there were obvious connections. Adan is wanted, but he disappeared ”
Even the attack, the inspector tells us, was abnormal: “Kalashnikov machine guns or long weapons were not used, but only pistols and a grenade thrown on the ground. People were injured by the splinters. This is why we immediately excluded Somali-based international terrorism ”
Investigations by Kenyan investigators are not concentrated, however, only in the hinterland of Malindi, Chakama and nearby villages. Investigators are also observing the work that Silvia had done at the Likoni orphanage of Davide Ciarrapica and his partner Rama Hamisi Bindo, the Hopes Dreams Rescue Sponsorship Center.
One of Silvia’s friends reported to us: “During her first trip to Kenya, Silvia had been in Davide’s village and at first she was happy. Then their relationship had broken down. Silvia called me in the evening very dismayed because he treated her badly and insulted her. Almost every night he went dancing, he came back drunk, taking a different girl with him. He screamed like a madman; he was very attached to money. He had also asked her to pay for a trip that had been organized for the children of the Center.
When Silvia was taken to the hospital for a small shoulder operation, he sent her alone and didn’t even accompany her. She was very upset. He treated her with a certain contempt. The last time, on November 5th, Silvia returned to the Center but only to greet the children and her friends. ” And she was greeted with coldness and disappointment.
Massimo A. Alberizzi
With contribution of Hillary Duenas