Somalia, Cuba deny Al Shabaab has released abducted doctors

In an interesting twist, Somalia has denied that two Cuban doctors held hostage by Al-Shabaab were released.

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse Awad told VOA in an interview that the reports were fabricated.

Earlier, Cuba had denied the doctors had been freed after AFP and AP reported the release happened.

Awad, instead, said the Somali government is working to secure the release of doctors Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodríguez Hernández, who were abducted by Al Shabaab militants in April last year in Mandera County.

They were reportedly taken to Somalia and held by Al Shabaab terrorists. The two doctors, a general practitioner and a surgeon, were part of a team of doctors sent by Cuba to Kenya for medical assistance.

However, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Monday thanked Awad for his government guarantee the return of the two doctors.

In tweet, Rodriguez said he had a telephone conversation with Awad and discussed the matter.

“I had a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Somalia Mr. Ahmed Isse Awad. I appreciated the support and efforts of your government to guarantee the safe return of our kidnapped doctors. We highlight the will to strengthen bilateral ties between the two governments,” Rodriguez tweeted.

Somalia intelligence sources had also indicated that the two medics had been released.

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