Ethiopian refugee Agitu Gudeta founded a successful agricultural company in northern Italy | Photo: ANSA/Facebook/La capra felice
Ethiopian refugee Agitu Gudeta founded a successful agricultural company in northern Italy | Photo: ANSA/Facebook/La capra felice

Ethiopian refugee Agitu Gudeta, the founder a successful agricultural company and a role model for successful integration in Italy, has died. An employee has confessed to her murder.

Agitu Gudeta, 42, was found dead in her home in Frassilongo, near Trento, on Tuesday night. An employee, who lived in her house, reportedly confessed to murder.

Gudeta was well known for creating a successful agricultural company – 'La Capra Felice' (the happy goat) – in the northern Italian region of Trentino.

She had become a prominent member of the local community with her farm in the Moncheni valley, where she had 80 goats on over 11 hectares of land, and with her store in Trento, where she sold goat cheese and cosmetic products made from goat milk.

Inspiration for other refugees

The death of Gudeta has sparked pain and outrage across Italy among citizens, politicians and unionists.

"Despite her tragic end, UNHCR hopes that Agitu Ideo Gudeta will be remembered and celebrated as a model of success and integration that will inspire refugees who are fighting to rebuild their lives," the UN refugee agency in Italy said.

"Dismay and horror are the first feelings that have gripped all people of Trentino in learning about the horrible murder of Agitu Ideo Gudeta," said Roberto Paccher, the president of the regional council of Trentino Alto Adige.

The secretary general of the union Fai Cisl, Onofrio Rota, wrote on Facebook that Agitu was a "courageous, sunny and intelligent woman: with her farm she had become a positive symbol of integration and of women who are leaders in the food industry."

The life of Agitu Gudeta

Gudeta was born in Addis Ababa in 1978. She studied sociology at the University of Trento and then went back to Ethiopia. In 2010, she returned to Italy to escape the conflict in her home country. She moved to Valle dei Moncheni and founded 'La Capra Felice'.

Gudeta was hailed as a role model for successful refugee integration and profiled by several broadcasters, newspapers and magazines. (InfoMigrants published an article on her in 2017.)

Employee confessed to murder

Neighbors reportedly found Gudeta dead in her bedroom after being contacted by one of her friends who was concerned because she had not turned up to an appointment.

Police arrested a 32-year-old farmworker, Adam S., who reportedly confessed to raping and killing Gudeta. He worked as a shepherd at the farm and lived in Gudeta's house. He allegedly told investigators that he had fought with Gudeta over money because he had not received his monthly salary, and that he had then attacked her with a hammer.

Carabinieri police in charge of the investigation had initially questioned a man who had been reported to police by Gudeta in 2018 and was convicted of violence. However, he was cleared of having played a role in the murder, sources in the investigation said.

In his statement on Facebook, Union leader Rota said: ''The fact that (Gudeta) was apparently killed by a shepherd she had welcomed and helped makes us even more sad. What is certain is that we will never forget Agitu, her contagious smile, her work for a better world."


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