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Abducted Italian nuns still missing

NAIROBI, November 13 – The search for the two Italian nuns abducted on Sunday continued on Thursday with little progress reported.

Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino told Capital News there were no fresh leads but expressed optimism they would be tracked down.

“We have nothing to report at the moment. The search for the nuns is going but they have not been traced. Officers are still on the ground searching for them,” he told Capital News on telephone.

Mr Owino said officers deployed to conduct a search of the nuns were still combing the border with Somalia where security has been intensified.

He could not confirm reports that the team conducting the search planned to cross over the border into Somalia as part of the search for the missing nuns.

“I am not able to confirm that, let it be known that we are on the ground and that everything is being done to find them,” he asserted.

A senior police officer in El Wak however, confided in us that the security forces were planning to cross over the border to search for the nuns.

“It is one of the alternative that is being considered. Our officers are also talking to elders in that country (Somalia) to try getting the nuns and the vehicles that were stolen returned,” the source said.

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The nuns who were working with a missionary group providing health care in El-Wak were abducted in the early hours of Monday when 60 men stormed the town.

They are reported to have hurled a grenade and sprayed bullets at a police station in the town before they kidnapped away the nuns from a Roman Catholic Church.

The nuns have since been identified as Caterina Giraudo, 67 and Maria Teresa Olivero, 60.

The Chief of Vatican Spokesman, Rev Federico Lombardi on Tuesday said that Pope Benedict was aware of the incident and was praying for them.

No immediate comment was forthcoming from the Italian Embassy in Nairobi.

When Capital News telephoned the Embassy on Thursday, an official said the Ambassador was not willing to discuss the matter.

“We do not wish to talk about that matter at this point, perhaps much later. Thank you,” she said.

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