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Rossella Urru: “Thank you all, now I’m going home”

“The day of my release has been great, but also the most difficult because I had no idea that all these people were working on my behalf in Italy”, while the “worst day was the one on which I was abducted”, reported Rossella Urru as she left the foreign ministry in Rome after meeting with Secretary General Michele Valensise and Head of the Crisis Unit Claudio Taffuri.

“I’m very tired and can’t wait to get home to my Island”, she told journalists. Urru was freed on Wednesday in Mali after 9 months in the hands of her kidnappers. She thanked “the State, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Crisis Unit and everyone else who contributed to my release, and of course the Sardinian people who stood by me and all the Italians whose solidarity helped me from afar”.

To the question of what to do next, Urru explained, “cooperation is important work and also very risky, because working in certain places is very difficult, but I believe in it and hope to be able to continue to do it”.

Rossella Urru landed shortly after 21:00 yesterday at Rome’s Ciampino Airport. There to welcome her were her family, Premier Mario Monti, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Minister for Cooperation Andrea Riccardi, Under-Secretary in charge of the secret services Gianni De Gennaro, and Governor of Sardinia Ugo Cappellacci. Slightly bewildered but smiling, she rushed to embrace her parents and siblings.

Urru was questioned today at the Rome prosecutor’s office, which had opened an investigation into what is being labelled an act with intent to commit terrorism. She was then received at the Presidential Palace by President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano accompanied by Minister Giulio Terzi. Later this evening she will finally make her long-awaited return to her hometown in Sardinia.

Rossella Urru was released on 18 July in Mali along with two Spanish cooperation workers after 270 days in the hands of the Islamic fundamentalist group that had abducted them. Announcing her release, Terzi underscored that “the Rossella Urru case is symbolic of the courage and heroism of our women working in cooperation under extremely difficult conditions, and who represent the dignity, pride and greatness of Italy”.

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