Home Diplomat's Corner Uhuru assures Cuba of release of Cuban doctors held captive by Al Shabaab in Somalia

Uhuru assures Cuba of release of Cuban doctors held captive by Al Shabaab in Somalia

President Kenyatta spoke about the matter when he held talks with Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla

by Eliud Kibii
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President Uhuru Kenyatta with Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on July 2, 2022/ PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has once again assured Cuba of the Kenya government’s commitment to ensuring the release of the Cuban doctors held captive in Somalia.

President Kenyatta spoke about the matter when he held talks with Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi, on Saturday, July 2.

According to State House press, President Kenyatta and Minister Parrilla discussed a wide range of matters of bilateral importance to Kenya and Cuba, including the safe return of the Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya by Al Shabaab in 2019.

Assel Herera Correa, a general physician, and Landy Rodriguez, a surgeon, were kidnapped in Mandera on April 12, 2019.

In December 2019, Ines Maria Chapman, the vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, told reporters in Havana on that the two doctors were well after returning from a trip to Kenya.

“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,” he said

Kenya’s government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna is on record saying the two medics are in Somalia,  “alive, that’s for sure,” and “in good health.”

“We are developing plans to ensure that they are carried out in such a way that their lives are not put at risk, that we can go there, pull them out and return them to their families,” Oguna said in 2019.

“We are constantly checking clues and intelligence information and as soon as we can execute the operational plan, we will announce it.”

However, not much has been heard of the doctors in the recent past.

At the meeting, Uhuru and Minister Parrilla welcomed the fraternal relations between Kenya and Cuba.

“I just want to say that we value your support and reiterate that Cuba has a true friend in Kenya. We will always stand in solidarity with you in whatever fora at the multilateral level,” President Kenyatta said.

On his part, the Cuban Foreign Minister thanked President Kenyatta for his commitment to enhancing the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Parrilla, who was accompanied by Cuba Ambassador to Kenya Juan Manuel Rodriguez Vazquez, said the two countries will continue to work together to strengthen their bilateral ties at all levels.

He delivered to President Kenyatta a special message from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Earlier, Parilla held talks with Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo at the start of his two-day visit.

A dispatch by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two ministers underscored Kenya and Cuba’s shared values that are based on South-South cooperation.

“They reaffirmed the strong bonds of friendship between the two states and committed to explore ways of bolstering cooperation in areas of health, trade, investments and agriculture,” the statement said.

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