Somalia: 'I Converted to Islam Out of My Own Will' Freed Alshabaab Hostage Silvia Romano Says

Italian aid worker freed by Al-Qaeda linked Somali militant group Al-Shabaab has revealed that she is now a Muslim, an Italian news outlet reports

In an interrogation with Italian security agents upon her arrival in Rome Italy at the end of 18 months hostage Silvia said she converted to Islam out of her own will.

Silvia had dispelled the doubts that the decision had taken place due to the psychological conditions faced in Africa, making it clear that it was her free choice.

"Nobody forced me. And it's not true that I was forced to get married, I didn't have any physical constraints or violence," she said.

The hypothesis of a forced adhesion to Islam would also be supported by news circulated in recent months, according to which the young co-worker would have been forced to marry one of the jailers

The captivity was spent in closed rooms, where Silvia says she never felt "imprisoned" because she was free to move in the lairs, at least four, inside villages.

The plane carrying Silvia Romano landed at the Ciampino Airport in Rome at 2.00pm local time.

Silvia was veiled in a light green Islamic "Jilbab" and a "Bata" loose dress commonly dressed by Somali women.

"I'm fine, physically and mentally. I'm fine, now I just want to be with my family for a long time." were her first words after she came from an interrogation at the Ros military barracks.

Silvia got off the ladder of the plane that brought her back to Italy after the long imprisonment. She greeted the Prime Minister and Minister Di Maio with her elbow, - in compliance with the anti-Covid-19 regulations - then she was able to tighten her father Enzo, her mother Francesca and her sister again. Then the transfer to the barracks to meet the prosecutors who started an investigation into kidnapping for terrorism.

"I am calm. During the kidnapping, I was always treated well," she told Ros agents in a four-hour interview to reconstruct the stages of the affair.

"Every three months I changed my lair", Silvia told the investigators giving new details of those past months without ever having been tied up or seeing her captors in the face. Many transfers from one hiding place to another, and always in inhabited places, where Silvia has never met other women. So the jailers, - always the same and present in three, she explained - managed to keep it hidden.

"They assured me that I would not be killed and so it was," said the cooperator to the prosecutors of Sergio Colaiocco who listened to her with the anti-terrorist unit agents.

Silvia an aid worker with Italian charity Africa Milele was kidnapped by gunmen in Kilifi county, Kenya in November 2018 before her captors smuggled her into Alshabaab held territory in neighbouring Somalia.

She was released on Sunday some 30km from the Somali capital Mogadishu.

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