Two Cuban doctors who were abducted by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Northern Kenya in April this year are still alive, a Cuban official said on Tuesday.
The two; Herera Corea (general practitioner) and Landy Rodriguez (surgeon) were kidnapped on April 12th while on their way to work in Mandera town by armed gunmen suspected to be Al-Shabaab militants.
Ines Maria Chapman, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers said the two medics are “well” and that both Kenya and Cuba are working to get them freed from Somalia.
"The Kenyan authorities affirmed that both doctors, Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez, are well and they will continue their efforts, as well as those carried out by our country, for their safe return to Cuba," Chapman told the media in Havana after returning from a trip to Kenya.
"Our people can be sure that the Cuban government, like the government of Kenya, is making huge efforts, paying special attention to this issue," Chapman added.
In May, it was reported that the abductors had demanded $1.5 million (Sh150 million) for their release but Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said Kenya would not negotiate with the terrorists. She ruled out ransom negotiations with the militants and exuded confidence that an ongoing operation to rescue the two will be successful.
“We believe that we’ll secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of policy, the government does not negotiate ransom."
"We’re hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home,” CS Juma has said during a press briefing in Nairobi.
Herrera and Rodriguez were part of a 100-member Cuban medical team sent to work in Kenya under an agreement between the two countries. Their abduction led to the withdrawal of Cuban doctors deployed in Wajir, Garissa and Tana River.