Efforts to rescue Cuban doctors still on

Cuban doctors Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodriguez, at the Mandera County Referral Hospital, in May 2018. [File, Standard]

Efforts to rescue two Cuban doctors abducted by Al Shabaab militia more than four months ago are still going on.

Dr Landy Rodriguez and his colleague Dr Assel Herrera Correa, who were serving in Mandera County, are said to be in Somalia territory where the abductors who have not asked for any ransom are holding them captive.

Government spokesman, Retired Colonel Cyrus Oguna said there are elaborate plans on-going to save the doctors.

“As a government, we are concerned and feel for the families. It is unfortunate such an incident had to happen, but we are doing all we can to have them back alive,” he said.

A group of elders who had travelled to Somalia to negotiate for the doctors' release immediately they were abducted in April, returned and kept quiet over the matter.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, on the sidelines of a private sector health conference in Nairobi, said she was not in a position to respond on the matter. “That is more of a security issue,” she said.

Foreign media

In Cuba, Heath Minister Jose Angel Portal was quoted in a section of the foreign media saying the doctors are alive and “all possible actions are being taken for their return.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Monica Juma ruled out any ransom negotiations with the abductors in May this year.

“We believe we will secure their release but as a matter of policy, the government does not negotiate ransom. We are hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home,” she said.

At the Mandera County Referral Hospital where Rodriquez and Correa had served for a year, the area government has been forced to rely on consultant doctors to handle delicate specialised cases.

“The two Cuban doctors had complimented services at the hospital. We are now forced to rely on consultancy from time to time,” said Governor Ali Roba.