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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Al Shabaab Release two Nuns They Kidnapped in Kenya

Two Italian nuns have been released after they were kidnapped and held by Islamist militants from Somalia.

Caterina Giraudo, 67, and Maria Teresa Oliviero, 61, had been working in northeast Kenya when they were kidnapped by the militants last November.

The nuns were released last Thursday from Mogadishu, Somalia. However the pair are still traumatised by their ordeal, according to Compass Direct News.

  • Both nuns are now receiving medical care and spiritual counselling from a representative of the Pope and from the Cardinal of Kenya.
  • Father Bongiovanni Franco, who worked with the sisters in Mandera, said that the nuns were fatigued.
  • Speaking to Compass he said, “Their movement from one place to another, and living in house confinement most of their stay in Mogadishu, seems to have affected their health – it was like a prison cell.”

He added that both the nuns urgently needed an intensive medical examination.

The nuns were taken on 10 November from Elwak, near Mandera, by a group of 20 armed Somali men and were smuggled across the border to Somalia.

The kidnappers are suspected of being part of the Islamic insurgent group al Shabaab, which is said to be linked to al Qaeda.

Father Franco would not comment on the circumstances of their release, saying that the focus was currently on the medical and spiritual needs of the nuns.

He also said that the nuns had developed friendly relations with some of the kidnappers, despite being prisoners of the men.

He said: “Thank you for your prayers and concern – indeed this has helped our sisters to be released. We have just completed our evening prayers with them. We are planning for a two-day retreat with the sisters.”

Sister Giraudo told an Italian TV channel, “We are very happy ... We were treated well, we are fine.”

The nuns have been working in Kenya for over 30 years, providing medical and nutritional care to poor children, the elderly and pregnant women.

The Rest @ Christianity Today

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