Populist Senator Matteo Salvini has slammed the Italian government for handing over millions of euros and giving publicity to Somalian terrorist group al-Shabab for the return of kidnapped aid worker Silvia Romano.
Senator Salvini commented on the case saying,” Yesterday was Mother’s Day, it was the feast of joy for Silvia Romano’s family, but then some questions must certainly be answered.”
“I remember softly that the money for the ransom would have been collected by a terrorist association that killed thousands of people with attacks and car bombs,” he said in a radio interview Monday, Il Giornale reports.
“If I had been in government I would have kept a lower profile, a more sober return would have avoided free publicity for those infamous people who killed so many people in the name of religion,” Salvini added.
Giorgia Meloni, a close ally of Salvini and leader of the national-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI), agreed with the League (Lega) leader and said, “it would be a tragedy if the message passed along is that kidnapping Italians can be vaguely profitable.”
“Instead we need to give the absolutely clear signal that kidnapping Italians is not a good idea, otherwise we obviously risk thousands of our compatriots around the world being seen as a good deal,” she said.
Italian Woman Returns Home After 18 Months Captivity by African Kidnappers https://t.co/ygCro8g56Y
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Ms Romano, who was kidnapped in Kenya in 2018 and returned to Italy on Sunday, revealed that she had also converted to Islam while a captive of the radical Islamic terrorist group upon her return to her home country.
Romano explained that she had changed her name to “Aisha” and insisted that her conversion to Islam had been of her own accord and she had not been forced by her captors.
“I was always in a room alone, I slept on the floor on some sheets. They didn’t beat me and I never suffered violence,” she said and added, ” wasn’t forced to do anything. They gave me food and when they entered the room the kidnappers always had their faces covered. They spoke in a language I don’t know, I believe in a dialect.”
The case bears similarity to that of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, who also converted to Islam after being kidnapped in Somalia in August of 2008.
Lindhout, by contrast, had been victim of sexual and physical violence by her captors. Ali Omar Ader, the main figure behind her kidnapping was later arrested in 2015 and sentenced 15 years in prison for his role in the affair.