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Cuba denies doctors kidnapped in Kenya have been freed: official

By AFP | October 7th 2020 at 18:08:55 GMT +0300

Cuban doctors Assel Correa, a general physician, and Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon. They were kidnapped in Mandera on April 12, 2019. [File]

Cuba on Wednesday denied that two doctors kidnapped by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in 2019 have been released, rejecting claims to that effect by Kenyan police.

"I deny the information circulating this morning about the alleged liberation of the two kidnapped Cuban doctors, Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodriguez Hernandez," said Foreign Affairs Ministry Press Director Juan Antonio Fernandez.

"Considerable efforts are ongoing to ensure their freedom and their safe and healthy return to our country."

Earlier on Wednesday, a senior Kenyan police officer told AFP: "It is true they have been freed. The doctors are now safe."

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Kenyan security officials told Standard Digital they had heard of the two doctors' release, but were not aware of their whereabouts.

Cuba's Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez also said in a tweet the two had been released and thanked the Somali government for its help.

He said he had spoken extensively with Somali's Foreign minister Ahmed Isse Awad.

The Associated Press (AP) said the doctors were released at the weekend after months of negotiations with their captors.

The news agency said the Somali intelligence, acting on the request of the Cuban government, negotiated for the release of the doctors after it got a video showing them a few months ago.

The two doctors were part of a 100-member Cuban medical brigade working in Kenya under an agreement between the two countries.

Herrera, a general practitioner, and Rodriguez, a surgeon, were abducted in Mandera, near Kenya's border with Somalia in April of last year.

One of two police officers escorting the doctors to work was shot dead by the attackers, who sped off towards Somalia with their captives.

A top government official said in May 2019 the kidnappers were demanding $1.5 million (1$= Sh108) for their release.

Additional reporting by Standard Digital.

 


Assel Herrera Correa Landy Rodriguez Hernande Cuban doctors Al-Shabaab
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