Two Italian nuns kidnapped by Somali gunmen in Kenya last November have
been released. The Vatican welcomed the news with "great joy."
gunmen had abducted Catholic missionaries Caterina Giraudo and Maria
Teresa Olivero November 10 after a raid on the northeastern Kenyan
border town of El Wak. The two were freed overnight in Somalia and then
flown to Kenya and are said to be in good health.
phone from the Italian Embassy in Nairobi, Sister Giraudo said "thank God, we are well. Only yesterday, we were in a terrible
condition but today we are well, we have resuscitated. We have no words
to thank the people we found upon our arrival."
Sister Olivero also said they were both well and very, very happy to be in Kenya.
spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, "We had been praying for them
for months." He added that "all the other hostages" worldwide should
not be forgotten.
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi also said he was happy to learn of their release.
ambassador to Kenya, Pierandrea Magistrati, said the nuns were safe. He
called it "a great day" but did not give any details on their release,
which is believed to have taken place late Wednesday evening.
nuns, who belong to the Contemplative Missionary Movement of Father de
Foucauld, had been living for over 20 years in Kenya, where they worked
at El Wak's small medical center to help the disabled and those
suffering from epilepsy and tuberculosis.
initially said that the armed bandits were Somali fundamentalist
guerrillas, but other reports suggested they could be connected to
feuding local communities where violence has escalated in recent weeks.
of humanitarian aid workers are increasingly frequent in the war-torn
East African nation. Two Somalis working for the U.N's World Food
program were shot dead in southern Somalia last month.