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Police arrest 14 over Italian woman abduction

A multi-agency security team hunting down gunmen who kidnapped an Italian aid worker in Malindi has arrested 14 people in connection with the incident.

The suspects, who are being held at Malindi Police Station, were arrested in the ongoing operation mounted to rescue 23-year-old Silvia Romano from the hands of the suspected al Shabaab militants.

Police have also recovered two motorcycles, which brought in the attackers to Chakama trading centre.

The operation, which has been extended to nearby Tana River and Lamu counties, is being undertaken by joint forces from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), GSU, Regular and Administration Police.

The  suspects were nabbed on Wednesday night. Detectives believe suspects holding the foreigner are still within the Kenyan borders, ruling out chances that they could have crossed over to neighbouring Somalia.

Special forces with sniffer dogs are also combing the expansive Tana Delta with a view of rescuing the Italian.

Coast regional police boss Noah Mwivanda confirmed the arrest but could not disclose the exact number of those being held.

“Security personnel are in the area to ensure the kidnapped Italian is found, we shall also ensure the suspects are arrested, if they resist they will be dealt with accordingly,’’ said Mwivanda.

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