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Operation to save Italian social worker has led to gross human rights violation-MUHURI

[MUHURI Chair Khelef Khalifa addressing Journalists at a past event. /Davis Mbunga]

Security operation to nab Italian social worker Silvia Romano abductors has resulted into a gross human rights violation, human rights lobby has said.

Muslims for Human Rights- MUHURI Chairman Khelef Khalifa noted that innocent civilians have been victimized, brutalized and dehumanised by security agents as the operations hottens up.

Romano was abducted by gunmen in Chakama, Kilifi County on November 20. She was the manager of African Milele Onlus a childrens home in Kilifi County.

On Monday last week, security personnel arrested one of the three main suspects in connection with Ms Romano’s disappearance. Ibrahim Adan Omar, who police had placed a Sh1 million bounty on his head was netted at Bangali town in Tana.

“We have credible reports that more than 150 people being children, the elderly, expectant and lactating mothers were roughed up and arrested last Saturday at Jira, Tana Delta,” said Khalifa.

Khalifa said the arrested were left in the cold and rain.

“Men were later moved to Gamba police station while women were taken to Minjilla police station,” he added.

Khalifa said the pastoral community was wrongly targeted in the operation.

He said the the swoop was led by area DCC Charles Akwanalo. However the entire operation is spearheaded by Coast regional police commandant Noah Mwivandah.

“We are perturbed by the reminiscent of the colonial era where civilians were put in deplorable conditions as they went through untold suffering,” Khalifa said.

Khalifa said Romano will only be traced if police cooperate with locals.

He said police have previously been involved in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, losing public trust.

The kidnappers are reportedly holding Romano with an intention of demanding ransom.

Reports from Italian media indicate there could be ongoing secret negotiation initiated by the Italian government.