médicos cubanos

Kenya commits to rescue Cuban doctors kidnapped in 2019

MIAMI, United States.- The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, confirmed this Saturday in a meeting with the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, his government’s commitment to the rescue of the two Cuban doctors kidnapped by jihadists near the border with Somalia more than three years ago, according to the EFE news agency.

An official statement from the Kenyan government reported that the meeting took place at the Official Residence (State House), where both discussed various issues “including the safe return of the Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya by Al Shabaab.”

Landy Rodríguez Hernández (surgeon) and Assell Herrera Correa (specialist in General Medicine), were kidnapped in 2019 and are still being held captive in Somalia.

During the meeting, the head of state also said that his country valued Cuba’s support and reiterated that the island “has a true friend in Kenya.”

“We will always stand in solidarity with you in any forum at the multilateral level,” added the Kenyan president. For his part, the Cuban minister assured that “both countries will continue working together to strengthen their bilateral ties at all levels.”

Surgeon Landy Rodríguez Hernández and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera Correa were kidnapped by alleged members of the Somali jihadist group Al Shabab on April 12, 2019, when they were on their way to work at the hospital in the city of Mandera, in the northeastern county. namesake.

After being kidnapped, the doctors were transferred to Somalia and handed over to Al Shabab, which affiliated with Al Qaeda in 2012 and controls part of central and southern Somalia with the intention of establishing a Wahhabi-style Islamic state in the country ( ultraconservative).

Despite government efforts, the fate of the Cuban doctors is still not known with certainty, reads the EFE note.

On March 23, a court in the country sentenced the driver of the vehicle in which the two doctors were traveling when they were kidnapped to life imprisonment. The man was found guilty of collaborating in his abduction.

Rodríguez Hernández and Herrera Correa were part of a hundred Cuban professionals – including radiologists, plastic and orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and nephrologists – who arrived in Kenya in 2018 as part of a bilateral agreement.

After the kidnapping, many of the Cuban doctors who practiced in some of the Kenyan regions bordering Somalia were relocated.

Meanwhile, during a visit to Cuba in June 2021, the Kenyan Minister of Health, Mutahi Kagwe, signed a new cooperation agreement with the island for the arrival of 101 Cuban specialists in Kenya within the framework of an exchange program between the two countries. .

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