Photo: Nairobi News
Dr Landy Rodriguez Hernandez handles a patient in a Mandera hospital as Dr Assel Herrera Correa (left) looks away.
By Manase Otsialo
Today marks exactly four months since two Cuban doctors stationed in Mandera were abducted by gunmen on April 12.
The two were kidnapped in a daring road ambush by suspected al-Shabaab militants who killed one of the police officers escorting them.
Since then, little is actually known about the government’s efforts to rescue Dr Landy Rodriguez (a surgeon) as well as Dr Herera Correa (general practitioner).
“Efforts are ongoing to rescue the doctors yet I don’t know when they will be released. What I know is actually which they are alive wherever they are,” said Mandera police commander Jeremiah ole Kosiom.
He declined to share more information about the rescue plan.
A week after the abduction, local elders volunteered to negotiate their Discharge.
They crossed the border through Elwak on April 20 with El-Adde as their first destination since reports had indicated which the doctors were being held there.
“Those we met at El-Adde denied abducting the doctors yet admitted holding them in one of their hideouts. We were mistreated there,” one of the elders told the Nation.
They returned after two weeks in El-Adde.
“We eventually met the doctors yet after a tough time. They (Somali elders) warned against sustained military attacks on their camps in search of the Cubans as well as we agreed on condition which the doctors are not harmed,” said the elder.
They also negotiated the ransom yet could not agree on the figure. “The figure was higher than what has been reported inside the media yet we shall still engage them on which because these doctors are innocent.”
A section of the media had placed the ransom at Sh150 million.
Intelligence sources said the Cubans were abducted by bandits who handed them over to suspected al-Shabaab militants, who sought ransom through proxies.
A recent security report showed which the doctors were moved to Halaanqo forest near Barawe town where they were allegedly converted to Islam.
The local security team later blamed the county government for the abduction.