EFE/14ymedio, Havana, 12 April 2022 — Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, affirmed this Tuesday that efforts to return to the country of the two doctors kidnapped for three years in Kenya continue “tirelessly,” though their whereabouts are still unknown.
“Today marks three years since the kidnapping of our doctors Assel and Landy. We continue tirelessly to make arrangements for their safe return to the Homeland with their families,” the president wrote on Twitter.
Surgeon Landy Rodríguez and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera were captured in the Kenyan city of Mandera (northeast), on the border with Somalia, and then taken to the latter country by alleged members of the Somali jihadist group Al Shabab.
On April 12, 2019, they were traveling, as usual, in a convoy to the Mandera hospital, protected by armed escorts, when they were intercepted after a shootout in which one of the police officers responsible for their security died.
The man who worked as a driver for both was sentenced at the end of last March to life imprisonment. According to local press reports, Issack Ibrein Robow, a Somali, was found guilty of kidnapping, aiding in a terrorist act and fraudulently obtaining an identity card.
Herrera and Rodríguez were part of a contingent of a hundred Cuban professionals who arrived in Kenya in 2018 as part of a bilateral agreement to improve access to specialized health services in that African country.
The governments of Cuba, Kenya and Somalia say that since the doctors were captured they have been making joint efforts to achieve their release.
In May 2019, traditional leaders from Kenya and Somalia who traveled to the Al Shabab-controlled region of Jubaland in Somalia to negotiate on behalf of the doctors, reported seeing the doctors providing medical assistance to the local population. According to the mediators, the kidnappers even demanded a reward of 1.5 million dollars as a condition for their release, the Kenyan press reported at the time.
Every time there is a contact in this regard with those countries, the Cuban authorities usually disclose it, although in a concise way and without specific details about the efforts.
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