The Cuban and Kenyan health ministers discussed efforts to secure the release of two island doctors kidnapped more than a year ago in the African country by suspected members of the Somali jihadist group Al Shabab Al Shabab.
The Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, said that his Kenyan counterpart, Mutahi Kagwe, continues to make efforts and works hard to guarantee the safe return to Cuba of the doctors kidnapped in the African nation.
Last April 12, Cuban surgeon Landy Rodríguez and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera served one year in captivity, after being kidnapped in the Kenyan city of Mandera, near the border with Somalia.
Cuban doctors were on their way to work at the hospital in the Kenyan city of Mandera, accompanied by armed escorts, when the vehicle they were traveling in was intercepted by the hijackers and they were caught in a shooting attack in which one of their guards died.
Since then, the President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, and of Public Health, Portal Miranda, have reported several telephone contacts with high authorities in Kenya and Somalia – the country to which the Kidnapped doctors – and have assured that they work for the return of the doctors to the island.
Rodríguez and Herrera are part of a contingent of a hundred Cuban professionals – including radiologists, plastic and orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and nephrologists – who arrived in Kenya in 2018 in application of a bilateral agreement to improve access to specialized health services in that country. African.
In his message, the Cuban Health Minister said that the Kenyan Minister Kagwe thanked the Caribbean country for its medical collaboration, in particular the contribution of the doctors to the fight against the pandemic generated by COVID-19.
Last June, the two governments 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.