Cuban doctors leave four counties over security fears
Cuban doctors posted to counties bordering Somalia left their stations in fear after their colleagues were kidnapped in Mandera and taken to Somalia.
The latest group of two specialists posted to Lamu and Tana River counties each left at the weekend, officials said.
It came a day after the government evacuated medics attached to Wajir and Garissa counties.
The counties border Somalia. This was a day after two medics were abducted from Mandera by Al-Shabaab militants as they were being escorted to work. They have been traced to Somalia’s El-Adde region.
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Officials said the health workers left following a national security advisory from Nairobi. The national security advisory committee sat on Saturday to review the incident and issued the order.
Doctors in Kilifi have also asked for enhanced security in the wake of the Mandera incident.
The move is likely to hurt service delivery in the affected counties, with patients expected to travel long distances to access specialised care.
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The group is among 100 doctors who were deployed to various counties last year in June to help in addressing health crisis.
Doctors Landy Rodriguez (a surgeon) and Herera Correa (general practitioner) who had settled in well at the Mandera Referral Hospital where they had been working in the past year were Friday abducted in an attack in the attack that left their bodyguard killed.
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Efforts to rescue them are ongoing with elders being sent to Somalia to negotiate with the abductors.
Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai said security agencies are working with those of Somalia with an objective to rescue the medics.
Dr. Rodriguez revealed in an earlier interview that he was initially anxious about working in Mandera after reading about al Shabaab attacks before he travelled to Kenya.
Dr. Correa however said he had worked in dangerous territories before so his new assignment was not any different.
There has been a lull of attacks in Mandera due to various measures by local and national governments.
The Chairman of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya assured Cuban doctors working in the country of their safety, following the abduction of their two colleagues from Mandera on Friday.
Oparanya said the incident is isolated but assured that the government will step up their security as they serve in various hospitals across the 47 counties.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry said it was “constantly” in touch with the Cuban government over the abduction of two of its nationals—the two doctors—abducted from Mandera while headed to work.
“Security agencies are engaged in the search and rescue mission to ensure safe return. We (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are also in contact with the Government of Cuba,” said Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.
In Cuba a health ministry statement read on television said: “Channels of communication have been established immediately with the Kenyan authorities to address this situation, while keeping the collaborators’ family members here in Cuba informed. Likewise, a government working group has been set up to follow up on this sensitive issue.”
Last November, an armed gang seized Silvia Romano, 23, an Italian charity worker, in the southeastern town of Chakama. Her whereabouts are unknown.
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