Cuba and Kenya Discuss Efforts to Free Kidnapped Cuban Doctors

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Cuba and Kenya’s Health Ministers spoke on Thursday about efforts to secure the release of two Cuban doctors kidnapped in 2019 in the African country by the Somali armed group Al Shabab.

Since April 12, Cuban surgeon Landy Rodríguez and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera have served a year in captivity after being kidnapped in the Kenyan city of Mandera.

The Cuban doctors were on their way to work at the Mandera city hospital, accompanied by armed escorts, when the hijackers attacked the vehicle they were traveling in, and they were caught in a shooting in which one of their guards died.

Since then, Cuba’s high Government officials have reported several talks with their counterparts in Kenya and Somalia, the country to which the abducted doctors were taken, and have stated that they are working for the safe return of the specialists to the island.

The sign reads: “I had a telephone conversation today with the Kenyan Minister of Health Mr. Mutahi Kagwe, who informed us that his Government continues to make efforts to guarantee the safe return to Cuba of our two kidnapped doctors, for which they are working hard.”

Rodríguez and Herrera are part of a contingent of one hundred Cuban health professionals who arrived in Kenya in 2018 in the application of a bilateral agreement to improve access to specialized health services in that African country.

In June, Cuba and Kenya renewed and extended, until the end of 2020, an agreement to have the services of Cuban doctors.

Following the kidnapping of Herrera and Rodríguez, Cuban doctors working in the Kenyan regions bordering Somalia were relocated.