An Ethiopian refugee who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday.
A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported.
The report could not immediately be confirmed.
Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land.
Her story was reported by numerous international media, including Reuters, as an example of a refugee success story in Italy at a time of rising hostility towards immigrants, fueled by the right-wing League party.
Gudeta escaped from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 2010 after her participation in protests against “land-grabbing” angered local authorities.
Activists accused the authorities of setting aside large swathes of farmland for foreign investors.
On reaching Italy she was able to use common land in the northern mountains to build her new enterprise, taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to public land to prevent local territory from being reclaimed by wild nature.
Starting off with 15 goats, she had 180 by 2018 when she became a well-known figure.
“I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters in a story that year.