Police have arrested the wife of one of three people suspected to have abducted an Italian student volunteer, Silvia Constanca Romano, last Tuesday at Chakama trading centre in Kilifi County.
Coast Regional Coordinator Bernard Lemparamarai said Ms Elima, the wife of Mr Said Adan Abdi – one of the three key suspects in the abduction with a Sh1 million bounty on his head – was arrested Sunday in Tarasaa village in Garsen, Tana River County.
Addressing journalists in Garsen, Mr Lemparamarai said a multiagency security team also arrested Mr Abdi’s in-law in the 6pm operation aimed at rescuing the Italian volunteer student.
Mr Lemparamarai said that they arrested Ms Elima after tracing a phone call conversation between her and the suspect to Tarasaa.
“We shall interrogate the two people to obtain more information on the whereabouts of the victim and her condition,” he said adding “We have also engaged the services of elders from the Orma, Pokomo and Wadhei communities who will be helpful in providing information that may be of use to us.”
Last Saturday, police named Ibrahim Adan Omar, Yusuf Kuno Adan and Mr Abdi as the three people of interest in the abduction of Ms Romano and then placed a Sh1 million bounty on each of them.
Earlier, Coast Regional Commander Noah Mwivanda who led an operation to hunt for the suspects in Boni Forest in Lamu County said they have arrested one more person, bringing the number of arrests to 21.
So far, police have been beefed up security in Garsen and Boni Forest where it is believed the abductors might be hiding with their hostage.
At the same time, Mr Lemparamarai cautioned members of the public against profiling some communities over the incident, saying criminals are individuals and not a community.
This is after residents of Matolani village claimed that Kenya Defence Forces officers had beaten them up as they conducted the operation.
In addition, Last Wednesday after the attack, Chakama residents lynched three people from the pastoral community on claims of associating themselves with abductors who also shot and injured five locals.
On his part, Garsen MP Ali Wario said that he was saddened by the incident and that he had asked his constituents to cooperate with the police to help find Ms Romano.
The MP said herders are helping in the search for Ms Romano whom he believes is still alive.
“I am appealing to the abductors to be humane enough and release the victim,” he added.
The attackers kidnapped Ms Romano, 23, a manager of an NGO known as African Milele Onlus, and wounded five locals.